We live in an age of digital technology or digital information or portal world whatever the fancy parlance or jargon is in the lexicon of the IT.
Everything has become digital from elevators, doors, microwaves, kitchen stoves, washing machines and last but not the least television.
It is the age of Smartphones and apps which can virtually run our lives. A case in point would be that there was a time one used to wake up in the morning and go to the door and pick the newspaper (fast becoming obsolete) to read the latest news. Nowadays, all one has to do is get one’s smartphone and Voila, you have the world at your fingertips.
One click and you have access to everything, online newspapers, TV channels, shopping guides, religious sermons, medical advice, travel information, etc.
One can order groceries, pay one’s utility bills, book flights, play the stock market, work on one’ bank account all at a mere click.
The Net has taken over our lives, virtually besieged us, held us captive especially the younger generation who are very technically savvy and know the ins and outs of working the Net and smartphones.
Many people remember with fond memories the days before the Net invaded our lives including this scribe.
Life was relatively simple, and people had time on their hands to personally keep in touch instead of meeting online through Facebook or whatsApps, Instagram or other mediums in the portal world.
One could happily and easily relax and pick up the paper for some leisure reading, glean the sports pages or movie guide, people went to movies instead of downloading movies and watching them online or on their smartphones.
One would find time to chat with neighbors over a cup of coffee or go for the leisurely walk but now people while away their time in endless chatter on the Net.
The worst aspect of the Net is that a lot of individuals belonging to the younger generation have become totally addicted, intoxicated and stay online 18 hrs a day ignoring their other responsibilities.
Yes, the Net is virtually taking over our lives as except for the older generation it has not spared anyone. People who were born before the Net and have had to adapt to are finding it difficult to balance the act.
Life before and after the connect is completely different but for even those who look upon this technology with distaste or suspicion have to admit that: It has come.”
Bane or boon, the Internet is now, a thing of the present and the future and with technology advancing at breakneck speed one must make an effort to keep up.
The Net is a massive repository of information, a digitalized guide disseminating know how to all who seek it. By some estimates, it has over 2 billion pages, a treasure trove of knowledge.
However, like all things in life, there is a darker side to all this also. Criminals have entered the portal world and engaged in cybercrime, such as child pornography, pedophilia abuse, human trafficking and money scams.
Since there is no regulatory authority and freedom of expression being the norm hate websites against different religions, races, caste has sprung up spreading venom and poison in the minds of impressionable young people.
Prostitutions, under the guise of dating websites, have emerged too, Money scams in the name of charity have deprived many innocent people of their hard-earned money.
So many miss a lot about life before the internet. What does one miss the most about life before the web? iStock Previously. When one could not go out on a trip with friends or colleagues, one would not know what one was missing but now with multitudes of selfies being dispatched in a flash of a second gives one a tinge of envy and feeling of despair.
There was a time when the mail carrier would come, and there was a sense of excitement, of hope that an old friend had remembered you, or a package of photographs or an old flame rekindling the past.
The greatest thing about life before the net was that there was considerable privacy in one’s personal life but with the loss, your life seems to be open to public scrutiny; one feels the eyes of the world are watching you.
A photograph if posted on the Net can be misused if it falls into the wrong hands. The worst case scenario is that there are hackers out there who are virtually capable of hacking into everything.
Bank accounts, personal information, credit card details are all targets of hackers, and they can easily wipe out data at random.
Then there is the method of photoshopping which means that photos can be altered, changed and someone’s head put in someone’s else body just for nefarious intentions. This is more prominent in the case of young females,
Wikileaks is a glaring example of how the world of hacking works. Classified information, government intelligence data, communication between heads of states have all been penetrated and exposed to the World.
What the mastermind behind the leaks is hiding in the Julian Assange is hiding in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for fear of being arrested and extradited to the USA for his illegal activities.
Although the Internet has great usefulness which we have discussed in details, it is how we use it that is crucial. It has opened up and made access to communication readily available as it is not only convenient but cheap also.
Skype is a method of communication that makes it possible not only to speak to someone on the other side of the world but also to see that person on a video screen.
Such technology has helped immensely in providing education to the remotest parts of the world where access to schools are involved especially in Africa and other far-flung places of the world.
The net has brought many people together in life, and people have met their life partners through the net.
These days video link conferences are held by multinational companies, and hundreds of company employees can join in to provide input and feedback.
Video conference has aided medical technology and physicians unable to travel due to time constraints and has helped in the performance of important surgeries.
As mentioned earlier the Net is the greatest and largest library in the World where access to any book or piece of information is just a click away.
It is a great medium to advertise one;s products also or share information with family and friends Music, films; documentaries are all on the Net.
There are some disadvantages that we earlier overlooked, and one of them is Spam mail. This is unwanted mail which is sent at random and uselessly. This causes obstruction to the recipient and makes it difficult to access their email.
Endless and useless advertising material is sent which clogs up the inbox.
An unknown and lethal virus such as Trojan, malware and with other different names plague the internet. The sole intent of this is to destroy the data of the computer. These virus are sent by e-mail as innocuous material. Internet viruses can be categorized into three types – those that harm your executable boot files and system, those that affect a particular file by destroying it and those that keep changing things in your computer like Word files. You can protect yourself by installing a reliable anti-virus program on your computer before accessing the Internet.
The Net has become the easy target for fraudsters and hackers who prey on easy victims so personal information may be kept at a bare minimum.
One must be careful in online transactions, and anything can go wrong. It is advisable to use a reliable payment processor.
There are some people who are virtually intoxicated by the virtual world. They are addicted to it just like drug addicts. This causes harm to health as eating habits become disorderly and sleeping patterns are disturbed. Obesity sets in due to being in a sedentary position at all times.
This needs to be checked and kept in control by parents.
Well, there you have it the debate if the Net is a boon or bane. For some it is while for others it is not. Whether we like it or not one thing is sure. It has come to stay and be part of our lives forever.
Another significant disadvantage is that the Net is that it exposes children with impressionable minds to adult content such as pornography. Parents must exercise restraint and caution when the kids browse the net.
There are no safety valves or blocking methods so the best thing to request the server network to block certain unsavory websites.
Happy Browsing folks.