The internet has received much negative news coverage in recent years. While the social and economic benefits of the internet cannot be denied. The internet has been on the receiving end of much negative news coverage in recent years. The focus has been on major privacy scandals and security breaches, the proliferation of fake news, rampant harmful behaviors such as Cyber-bullying, Cyber-theft, Revenge porn, Sextortion, the exchange of child porn and internet predation, internet addiction, and the negative effects of the internet on social relations and social cohesion. There are several significant harmful social and cultural effects associated with internet use. Let’s look at them briefly.
Internet addiction: In a world in which Digital Technology usage has been growing, there is no debate whether Internet addiction exists or not. How people have been using the Internet has changed substantially since the advent of mobile phone technology. The internet has become an integral part of modern day life. Over the past few years, correlation between excessive internet use and mental disorders has grown. Internet addiction is a behavioral addiction in which a person becomes dependent on use of the Internet, or other online devices. Internet addiction is becoming widely recognized and acknowledged, particularly in developed countries where it is affecting large numbers of people. Internet addicts develop an emotional attachment to on-line friends and get addicted to activities they have created, such as YouTubers, Instagramers, Tik-Tokers and other social media influencers. People suffering from Internet addiction use the virtual fantasy world to connect with real people through the Internet, as a substitution for real-life human connection, which they are, fail to achieve normally. Symptoms of Internet addiction include Feeling guilty, ashamed, anxious, or depressed as a result of online behavior, Failed attempts to control behavior, Neglecting sleep to stay online, Weight gain or loss, backaches, headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome. Internet addiction is a harmful. Lack of control over one’s internet consumption that can lead to a decrease in physical and psychological wellbeing, with associated symptoms of distress, anger, loss of control, social withdrawal, familial conflict, and others.
Though internet addiction is not officially recognized as a distinct behavioral disorder yet but in context of rapidly growing internet use, the internet addiction is been recognized as a global concern. The addiction is especially growing among teens and youths. Young people are spending most of their time in online activities including pornography, gambling, online video games, excessive chatting, Cyber bullying and Cyber-crimes etc. India has the youngest population in the world but it’s our responsibility to inculcate the right habits among next generation so we don’t lose the power of our young just in surfing online.
Information Overload: We’re living in a world of information overload. A theory that has recently been developed to address the intake of too much data due to the widespread use of digital devices, massive amounts of new information and the ability to transmit this information quickly. It’s fascinating is that average internet user spend half of their year consuming information. The average person spending 32 hours online a month. Over 4 million blog posts are published every day. There are more than 800,000 podcasts and more than 30 million podcast episodes available. Countless emails land in our inbox daily with ‘COVID-19’ or ‘webinar’ somewhere in the subject line. But too much of anything is simply too much, and trying to keep up with all of this information can be exhausting. A Yahoo survey found that In terms of emails the average professional receives at least 100 emails a day. The average professional checks their inboxes 30 to 40 times an hour. In a college lecture students open twice as many distracted windows on their laptops as productive windows. For every 100 productive windows students also opened 27 email windows 33 surfing and entertainment windows 43 instant messaging windows. 87 operation system windows and 19 miscellaneous windows. But the survey also found that average user only remembers 10% of what they see on the internet.
Managing information in daily life is no longer restricted to a wealthy elite but is a problem which faces nearly everyone. Social media, e-mail, webpages, mobile apps, etc. all spill data into our lives daily. Information overload is a real phenomenon which prevents people from taking decisions or actions because they feel they have too much information to consume. Current research suggests that the surging volume of available information—and its interruption of people’s work—can adversely affect not only personal well-being but also decision making, innovation, and productivity. With the information floodgates open, content rushes at us in countless formats: Text messages and Twitter tweets on our cell phones. Facebook friend alerts and voice mails. There are even claims that the relentless cascade of information lowers people’s intelligence.
Harmful effects on Social relationships: Internet has drastically changed the cultural norms and behavior of individuals. Use of excess Internet has resulted less face-to-face interaction within societies. This is in consequence of addiction to which the frequent access of internet is preferable not only for leisure time but also on behalf of most activities to undertake. Thus people tend to playing gadget and being introvert. Youths are more inclined towards using mobile phones for activities other than communication than older generation. Because in adolescence stage, people are more susceptible to changing fashion trends and style, building them more Tech savvy this creates certain behavioral disorders. The fame of the mobile phones is followed by an alarm towards the detrimental effects of cell phone radiation, fatigue, headache, decreased concentration and local irritation and burning are the major effects of excessive usage of mobile phones. One potential negative effect of increasing internet use is that it will undermine and degrade social relationships and reduce the quality of social interaction. As users spend more time online, they tend to neglect existing social relationships and be less likely to form new relationships. For example, users might, due to their (excessive) internet use, act in ways that actively damage the relationship. Some might neglect the necessary maintenance of the relationship due to internet use. There is a considerable amount of evidence linking internet use, particularly social media use, to loneliness and social isolation. The harm that internet use causes to romantic relationships is best documented in relation to pornography. Given the number of internet users that regularly watch pornography use has the potential to harm relationships in a variety of ways. Adolescents who watch pornography have lower degrees of social integration, more delinquent behavior and decreased emotional bonding with caregivers. Certainly, one can argue that online communication is not yet the dominant form of communication among young people, but it’s gaining popularity day by day. The more spread it achieves the higher its impact is going to be on the personal and social relationship.
Harmful effects on knowledge and belief: Significant harm is also done by false information and disinformation on the internet, and by the phenomenon of echo chambers. Here the ideas are reinforced through repetition in a closed system that does not allow for alternative viewpoints. Empirical evidence suggests that the internet contains much false and misleading information, and that users have difficulty distinguishing accurate from inaccurate information. Fake news poses a particular problem. Misinformation can cause significant harms to the health and wellbeing of individuals and to the proper functioning of society. Including the functioning of democratic institutions. Echo chambers appear to be more pervasive, and may separate those with more extreme and partisan political and ideological positions from the rest of society. Thereby undermining possibilities for civil discourse and tolerance. This supports radicalization. Misinformation can be very difficult to correct and may have lasting effects even after it is discredited. One reason for this persistence is the manner in which people make causal inferences based on available information about a given event. As a result, false information may continue to influence beliefs and attitudes even after being debunked; if it is not replaced by an alternate causal explanation. The spread of anti-vaccination misinformation on social media, (and its implications for public health and the global fight against COVID-19) is a textbook example of how misinformation can have serious real world.
Cyber Crimes: These days Cyber Crime is a fast-growing area of crime. As, the technology is advancing man is becoming dependent on internet for all his needs as it gives easy access to do shopping, gaming, online studying, social networking, online jobs etc. everything at one place. Like developed countries, India is also not far where the rate of incidence of Cyber-crime is increasing day by day. Criminals are mostly exploiting the speed, convenience and anonymity of the internet, commit various criminal activities and pose real threat to victims all over the world. These crimes can be phishing, Fraud due to credit card, debit card, bank robbery, illegal downloading, child pornography, distribution of viruses etc.
Loss of privacy: Internet is changing the world we are living in. As the internet growing at a rapid pace, its users are losing the privacy. With internet’s growth Rapid developments and globalization have brought new challenges towards personal data protection. Internet has started to influence on every aspect of our life. So whenever a user navigates in Internet, makes a phone call or uses different technology tools users’ privacy becomes vulnerable. Although these technologies are helping us in various ways, we are losing our privacy to these technologies. Protection of personal data in relation to current developments in technology is one of the subtle challenges of the global information society. There is no doubt that the proliferation of numerous activities within the use of information technology and use of new forms of communication present difficulties. Often people use their personal camera for entertainment purposes or the cultural ones; transmitting images in which other people can also be part. What can infringe private life is not their holding in “safe” places, but their distribution in the third persons, online or other without the consent of those persons.