From my earliest memories of using the internet, I recall the days of dial-up. The rules of the house were: internet was only used for homework purposes. At first the rule was easy to abide by, until I learned through the many different mouths at school that there was more fun to be had. Soon online games found their way into my life as well as the AOL Instant Messenger, my first exposure to communicating with my friends without seeing or actually hearing them.
When broadband connections replaced dial-up, the internet became a typical activity of the day. I would spend hours with the games, the mindless videos, and the instant messenger. Now that I’m twenty, I can sum up my experiences with the internet pretty easily; sifting through countless pages to find good research for homework papers, wasting hours on social media websites, and letting my mind absorb nonsense as a form of entertainment.
Although we take pride in the fact that the internet is truly a source of fulfilling our needs of freedom of speech, are we really using it properly? It seems to be a strong lean in public opinion that the internet should not be regulated. It’s a place for expanding our forms of communication with the world, exposing important information and knowledge so people have easy access to it, a place where we keep everyone informed. I see the internet in a different light.
The internet has turned into a dumping ground for every thought of the human mind. Blogs, status updates, and tweets range from what someone ate for dinner to their opinions of grand and controversial topics. With the internet being so easily accessible, people are not forced to take a moment to think about what they’re posting. It has led to scams, false user accounts, and a lot of discreditable information. As more people fight for the ability to post freely, this adds on to the junk collection the internet is quickly turning into.
The internet does not need constant regulation, this would be impossible, but it needs a different protocol. People have too much freedom in how they use it. I can make my own website and post whatever I want on it, I can post anything I please on YouTube for people to watch and I can even edit pages on websites that are believed to be trustworthy like IMDB.com or even Wikipedia. In fact, a friend of mine just created her own page on Wikipedia one afternoon when she was bored.
I believe that since the internet allows anything and everything, it is being taken advantage of. In countries like Egypt and China where there is too much regulation, the people that find the wiggle room use it to create awareness about their government’s treatments and try to gain attention from people who could possibly help the situation. They risk their lives posting their opinion, so they make sure it’s for a worthy cause. According to Stephen Franklin in his article, “Whence the Revolution,” the people of Egypt are extremely suppressed and use the internet as an attempt to show the world that they need change and they want the wrongs righted (Gorham 112).
The problem here in America, is that the internet has become polluted with opinions, which, in my opinion, slows down physical change. So many people would rather dump their thoughts online and wait for others to comment, rather than go out and make change happen. Someone can easily post that we don’t trust our government and millions can reply and agree but what does this do? The government has been scrutinized for years and continues to be considered untrustworthy. We have had the Internet so long that it’s a common household activity yet the common public is making little use of what its goals were meant to accomplish.
America needs a wake-up call. We need to all be reminded of the original goals of the internet and how truly lucky we are to be able to use it. Appreciation and awe at the possibilities of the internet are no longer felt as it has turned into a virtual diary for many users. We need to understand the fact that for some, the internet is a beacon of hope on an isolated island. I feel that if America has this wake-up the internet may slowly shift back in the direction of aiding America in being well-informed citizens, rather than just loud people that don’t think before they speak.
Franklin, Stephen. “Whence the Revolution.” Annual Editions Mass Media. Ed. 12/13.
Gorham, Joan. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2013. 112-114. Print.