Why is the Internet moving at almost the speed of light?

What do I find most interesting or surprising about the history of the internet?  The speed of its development.  From Arpanet in 1969 to emails in 1971, to the start of live chatting in 1988, to webcam development in 1991, how far it has come in less than 50 years is absolutely astonishing.  After reading about its short history, I have come to understand why we as consumers have expectations which are so high and only getting higher.

Up to the early 21st century, nearly every aspect of the internet that came to be was a necessary creation, to ease methods of communication and ways of accessing information.  But since the early years of the new millennium, much of what has become part of the internet is actually not essential to our lives, if we put our minds to it.  Of course, for those who were born when social media was first developed, or those born today and in the years to come, they will hardly be able to imagine a world without the World Wide Web.  It has unfortunately become a basic need of individuals if they are to live through each day suffocating or dissolving into a puddle of tears.

Such inventions as Snapchat, YouTube and therefore Red Tube, are they entirely fundamental to our everyday lives? Although YouTube does contribute to education and learning of society, it has stimulated a ridiculous amount of inappropriate content and furthermore impure behaviour of children and adults alike.  When Snapchat was first invented, the basic idea was to allow individuals to send self-destructing, sexual photos to each other.  The use of this app then became more general, promoting simply the idea of fun and creativity with various filters, texts and sound effects.  However, websites such as Snapchat Leaked then emerged, containing sexual photos submitted anonymously, and aimed at an 18+ audience to view simply for laughter and pleasure.  This I find shocking, and ultimately quite disturbing.

The history of the internet and the speed of its evolution is no doubt impressive, but we need to address its many implications if we do not want it to destroy rather than benefit society.  I think the internet definitely plays a part in the decline of face to face interaction, the rise of sexual molestation and of course the increase in cyber-crime. Surely the founders of Arpanet did not have this in mind as a primary purpose.  We therefore need to reflect on what the actual function of the internet is.

Finally, it is because we live in the Western World that we take the internet for grated. How many of us can truthfully say that they will happily give up their unlimited access for the rest of their lives?  Ninety percent of the world’s poorest countries live offline, and so if they are able to, then I hope you will agree that we need to rethink our society’s approach to the internet.

The World Wide Web

Sources

The History of the Internet in a Nutshell http://sixrevisions.com/resources/the-history-of-the-internet-in-a-nutshell/

How much of the world has regular internet access? http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/09/united-nations-internet-access/406552/

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4 Comments

  1. I agree with everything you’re saying, apart from the part about YouTube. “Although YouTube does contribute to education and learning of society, it has stimulated a ridiculous amount of inappropriate content and furthermore impure behaviour of children and adults alike.”, that’s what you said. Does YouTube really help to learn? Are you talking about music/make-up tutorials? I’m a person who’d spent half of my life learning different languages and I have to admit that I am indeed subscribed to a few language channels, which look rather promising and even helped me in some aspects but do you think they’re trustworthy? The people who make those videos to ‘educate’, what do you know about them? I could turn on the camera right now and record something, however am I actually allowed to do this? Even if i’m going to teach someone my native language, I have no degree, not much experience therefore I might teach others my mistakes more than the right things. I think, when it comes to YouTube, it’s not something you should trust when it comes to ‘education’. Maybe ‘learning’ to improve your make-up skills or something but there’s a difference between learning and getting educated, isn’t there?
    When talking about “inappropriate content”, is there any? I’ve never seen anything that bad because I think the majority of videos are censored in one way or another. If they’re absolutely explicit, YouTube will get rid of it very quickly. I do love YouTube, that’s a very nice website, although I visit it just to watch concerts mostly. Anyway, I’ve been on YouTube since like 2008 or something and I’ve never seen anything inappropriate. Plenty of incredibly stupid stuff but can you really say that it’s inappropriate? Nonetheless, I completely agree that stupid videos might make children’s and adults’ behaviour unacceptable sometimes; they [videos] have already done so and affected a lot of people’s behaviour which is quite scary but, I’d say, it was their choice what to watch.
    I don’t want to sound too protective over YouTube because it has a lot of flaws as well as good sides, you’re right, but I just had to disagree with you about some of its aspects.

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    • I think YouTube does help us to learn, for example in lectures when we were shown different documentaries as well as Plato’s theory of the media. A video can really help visual learners to gain in-depth understanding. I understand why you disagree because of course no one can educate themselves purely through YouTube their whole lives. I agree that there’s a difference between ‘learning’ and getting education, but in some smaller ways, for instance, if I wanted to learn a song on the piano or how to bake a cake, YouTube is a great platform for learning how to, hence the word ‘tutorial’, meaning that they are teaching you and giving you information. I know that not everyone on YouTube is going to see things that are inappropriate, and thank God that they don’t. But unfortunately for me, I have seen how deceiving some users can be when uploading content. For example, they might give a video a title and cover frame that is completely irrelevant and misleading from the actual video itself. They could say, ‘How to bake cupcakes’ when the video actually contains sexually indecent content. This is how users manage to get across videos that would otherwise be taken down by YouTube.

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  2. There is a lot wrong with the way the internet is used but don’t you think that it is a reflection of society? Everything that exists online exists in real life, the difference is that the online world is so much closer to us than the United States or Australia, therefore anything negative or any negative way in which the internet is used will cause much more frustration and disbelief than something equivalent in a physical place.
    On the other hand, the internet is a representation of a fictional world so you can be whoever you want to be over all the different social network websites there are. As media students we are now, subjected to a reality where these websites are essential for our careers, to meet people in the industry, etc.

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    • I agree that in some ways the internet is a reflection of society, but not every aspect of it. For example in online gaming, where the aim is to go to extreme extents to steal or kill people, is that really a true reflection of real life? If a child was to play too much of an unrealistic online game, they would struggle to understand what the real norms and values of society are. I do also agree that the internet represents a fictional world and that you could be someone different than in real life. Some people may even find that being a fictional character gives them more confidence. But this can actually be quite dangerous, and cause cyber bullying and manipulation over the internet. A documentary which I watched a few years back was about a girl who pretended to be three separate boys through social media, and used these characters to chat to her female friends, eventually becoming their boyfriends. It’s hard to believe that these cases can actually happen, but I think the documentary raised awareness of how dangerous a fictional world can become. If you want to find out more here’s a link to an article about the real life case: http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2012/aug/07/girl-who-became-three-boys

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