If not everybody, a huge percentage of us all are familiar with the internet, particularly the millennial generation those born between 1980 and 2000.) The internet is simply a massive network that links computers together all over the world. Prior to the invention of the World Wide Web in 1989, there was no such thing as “Google this, google that” or any form of teleconferencing like voice and video calls, Facebook chatting or real – time instant messaging. The old world was just used to the local telegraphing, writing letters, playing board games, listening to the stereo and the list goes on. Owing to the fact that the internet is the most crucial technology, its popularity has exploded over the decade.
Nowadays, it is quite easy to boot up your laptop or walk into a cyber cafe and get useful information on school projects, work, news etc. I must admit the fact that I have personally learnt so much from the internet. With the help of the internet, we can gain access to social media, entertainment, easy communication with our friends, a better way of banking, shopping, sending mails, doing business transactions, among others. However, pros and cons are common to virtually everything on earth and this huge information superhighway is not an exception. We therefore, should not get carried away by the comfort and ease we derive from the internet, considering that it has quite a number of appalling effects on today’s generation. Along these lines, I would say that the internet is a curse to the millennial generation.
To start with, there is plenty of misleading information on the internet. Everyone has the right to be heard and so this calls for different views about a particular matter. For instance, I can wake up one morning and decide to post false information on the web. This would in turn pave way for billions of people around the globe to gain access to my “garbage”. It could be really misleading especially for young kids and youths who rely on the internet for homework help and information instead of their books. If a thirteen – year old student decides to ask a question on maturation and puberty, he or she would most definitely end up getting different views about it because the people answering the questions are not qualified professionals. This same student could decide to search for help on an ongoing project work and might end up getting access to materials such as “How to get your ex – girlfriend back” or “How to lighten your complexion in two weeks”. These materials are totally irrelevant and the youths could fall prey to them as they would affect the mindset of the individuals concerning various issues in life.
Secondly is the persistent issue of cyber crime. Cyber crime includes theft of personal information, the writing and design of special programs to harm the efficient functionality of the computers, cyber impersonation etc. A lot of deceitful businesses like these that take advantage of innocent people have arisen in the last decade as a result of access to the internet. It is completely distasteful and repugnant for cruel people to infringe on the privacy of others. This calls for so much expenditure on security to protect online activities like e- banking, shopping, mailing and the list goes on. Viruses present in the specially designed programs in form of advertisement icons, images on the web pages might seem harmless but the great harm meant for phones, tablets, laptops or computers is only a mouse click away! These viruses could wipe off the memory of stored important data and information on the system. Some people have been ruined as a result of these dreadful activities.
Thirdly, there is the issue of internet piracy. This refers to the deliberate violation of copyright on a commercial scale. There are a lot of unauthorized music, movies, games, software and other creative content on the web. The internet has a lot of websites that allow people to get access to contents like these without paying a dime. Nowadays, much music can be downloaded without buying the whole album or DVD. This is a really huge problem for the music label or production company that produces a particular content because they end up making very little or no profit. To make a few DVD copies of a popular game console like “The Sims” or “FIFA 13” is not an easy task. It requires money, resources, time, energy, technology, human effort, creativity and patience and if this software is stored in a computer fie, billons of online users can gain access to it in a matter of minutes; and even seconds leaving the production company with nothing but frustration because of piracy. It is very sad that the huge technology behind the internet encourages this rampant issue of piracy.
What is even more disturbing is the exposure of highly sexually explicit content to young people especially children, in the form of pictures, videos, texts and chat rooms. Pornography can get into the hands of the young innocent ones too easily. According to studies and research in 2010, the most trafficked websites were sex – related. The truth behind this is that it has paved way for moral and ethical decadence in youths. I would not be surprised if the men that raped a woman to death in India last year did so after watching porn on the internet. Pornography actually destroys marriages and other healthy relationships. In a recent survey, two – third of divorce lawyers said the internet has played a huge role in divorces in the past year. Likewise, 70 percent of 15 to 17 year olds in the United States said they had accidently come across pornography online.
Finally, the most insidious effect of the internet on the millennial generation is the fact that it is highly addictive and time – wasting. Due to the endless availability of pirated game consoles, articles, music, videos and pornography on the web, the internet has become a sea of ceaseless fun and entertainment. Youngsters and young adults don’t focus on academic work anymore; they prefer to browse all day long. Take a good look at this scenario in the next paragraph and ask yourself, ‘Is the internet really a blessing or a curse to the millennial generation?”
A sixteen year old like me, Amina, would rather read and get the latest fashion trends of the moment while seventeen year old Michael loves getting rap lyrics of Jay- Z. Likewise, eight year old Nicole can’t quit playing dress up games online and even the twenty four year old undergraduate Victor has perfected his internet hacking skills with the help of the so called “information superhighway”. Fatima the sales girl at the local supermarket in her mid twenties is not left out of the picture either; she can’t help chatting with her friends on Facebook and Twitter all day like there is no tomorrow. This common trend in the millennial generation cannot be over looked; it has ruined so many relationships, businesses, careers and social skills. Even as a teenager, I must confess, when I plan to play my favorite video games for an hour, I end up spending close to four hours in front of my laptop and as a result, miss my lunch or dinner as the case may be. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google, YouTube and the likes have been so frequently abused that they have taken over most lives of individuals. The internet damages social skills. Some teenagers do not socialize with their peer group but only interact with virtual friends. They become fat, even obese, and awkward and tongue- tied because browsing the internet is a solitary and sedentary activity. So the internet adversely affects the health of the millennial generation.
In conclusion, the internet is just as capable of helping us as it is of destroying us. It unfolds a number of marvelous opportunities as well as horrific possibilities. It is from the internet that one can search for virtually anything including “How To Get Distinctions In Your Final Examinations” as well as “How To Create A Nuclear Bomb In 24 hours” but the expense of its adverse effects on the millennial generation cannot be at the mercy of the great satisfaction we derive from it. It destroys, it negatively influences, it is extremely viral, it knows nobody but invites everybody, and above all, it is not safe. The internet is not a blessing; it is a curse to the millennial generation.