The Internet is one of the most powerful inventions of the 20th Century. But with all inventions, people are prone to misuse them. Below are a few of the pros and cons of the Internet.
Pros of the Internet
1. Free information
All kinds of information can be obtained by simply surfing the Internet. Information can be obtained not only in the form of texts but also in pictorial form. Search engines like google.com, search.com, yahoo.com, and others are used as a platform to get information. Internet browsers can use search engines to get the information they want whether it is used for learning, research, knowledge or others.
2. Communication tool
The Internet is widely used as a platform for communication. It’s very easy and without incurring high costs. Anyone can use Yahoo messenger, Skype, gtalk and Hotmail to facilitate communication. In addition to communicating with text, users can even take advantage of features that enable the use of voice and video. This is particularly useful to companies that have branches all over the world. Communication can be used between each branch by using video conferencing or tele-conferencing.
3. Save cost and time
The use of the Internet in communication is an indirect savings to the cost of telephone calls and other costs such as transportation and lodging costs. The cost of international calls using an analog phone is very expensive when compared to using Skype. Besides, the cost of using voice over internet protocol (VOIP) is much lower than normal costs of making calls whether locally or internationally. Significant transportation cost savings can be seen by large companies with branches all over the world. Meetings or discussions can be done by using video conferencing or tele-conferencing. Company executives do not have to travel to various places to meet. This would translate in time and money saved.
4. Latest news
The use of the Internet has facilitated the delivery of the latest news much faster. Many newspapers have their own web sites and will update readers and display the latest news around the world. News cab now be delivered to readers in a matter of seconds after they occurred.
As an advertising tool, the Internet is not only cheap but it is more effective because it can be seen around the world. There are companies that offer affiliate programs where they are the most effective ways to advertise a company or individual.
Many forms of entertainment can be found just by surfing the Internet. We can watch television shows and movies online by simply visiting websites that provide such services such as Netflix or Youtube. Apart from that there are also games that anyone can play online with gamers from all over the world. Other entertainment activities such as listening to music are also available online.
7. On-line education
There are many universities that offer distance education where the Internet is essential. This is because the learning is done on-line where the video conferencing system is used. Students do not need to physically attend classes as everything is done via on-line lectures and students only activate video conferencing to attend college. Learning notes can be downloaded on-line and lectures can be recorded and students can listen to the lecture repeatedly. In addition, the results can be obtained online.
8. Information service
Many companies are reaching their customers via the Internet. Companies such as banking companies, airlines, buses, hotels and travel agencies offer services on-line for the convenience of their customers. Banking companies offer online banking services and account holders can use the services offered without the need for excessive charges. Similarly, many airlines are offering users the convenience of booking tickets on-line at any time.
Cons of the Internet
1. Inaccuracies in the information
There is a wealth of information that we get from the Internet, but who’s monitoring if the information is accurate? How are we to check whether the information we receive is accurate or not. There are many people who use the Internet for disseminating information in accordance with their respective self-interest. Some use the Internet to slander others while there are those who use the Internet to spread panic. Therefore we need to learn to assess the validity of the information.
2. Virus / Malware / Worm / Trojan
The Internet is one of the sources used to spread virus and malware. It is beneficial for computer users to have some knowledge about virus and malware attacks. This is to ensure that our computer is safe from attack and our data safe from encroachment. Lack of knowledge on how to prevent your computer from these attacks will facilitate computer hackers.
3. Immoral materials
Is the Internet for porn? That is the belief of some people. There are many immoral materials such as photographs and videos that are not suitable viewing by children and adolescents. It is a bad influence on society in general. Such immoral materials can be easily found on the Internet. Parents should monitor where their children go to when they’re online. Parents can install filters on computers used by their children. This would enable parents to monitor the web sites accessed by their children.
4. Safety issues
So much of our personal information is available to banks, schools, universities, government departments when we access their web sites. Is our personal information safe from the access by irresponsible parties? How is the level of security on the web sites that we go to every day? Servers that are hacked can cause personal and confidential data falling into the hands of irresponsible people. Therefore, we need to always be careful with what the information that we share online.
5. Waste of time
Time is wasted when users are addicted to online games or chat and surf sites that are not helpful. These activities are not totally useless but there should be a time limit for each of these activities. For example, going to Facebook twenty times a day is a total waste of time when that time can be used for other more important activity like being around with your real friends and family. Some companies even restrict access to Facebook because it can reduce the productivity of workers.
The Internet is a tool and like all tools, it can be useful or it can be a hindrance. It will all depend on how you use the Internet.