Does the internet bring more harm than good
The internet has not brought more harm than good because for every ‘harm’ caused by the internet there is a corresponding benefit which far outweighs it. I shall demonstrate.
Fraud vs Business Opportunities
Whatever we invent, there will always be somebody somewhere who tries to take advantage of it with criminal activity. This is a human problem, not an internet problem. There are also plenty of measures you can take to protect yourself from identity theft and fraud.
Besides, fraud has only increased since the internet’s invention because the internet itself has provided so many opportunities for businesses to expand by operating online. Business outlets can be set up cheaply while providing instant access to a global market, plus the internet not only allows individuals to work from home and small, independent businesses to flourish, but also allows larger established businesses to expand their enterprise by providing access to an even wider demographic. This platform the internet provides for businesses both large and small in turn creates more choice for the consumer and allows us to easily compare prices and services. We’ve never had it so good.
Some people are going to get done by fraud, it’s true, but that negative factor is massively outweighed by the positive effect of this online business boom of opportunity for all.
Piracy vs Artistic Platforms
Yes, some big corporations may not have made quite as many billions of dollars as they would without piracy, but that doesn’t actually harm me, you or anyone. Nobody’s going without a meal because of illegal downloading. That is a fact.
Counter-acting this so-called ‘harm’ of piracy is the provision of a platform for all kinds of artists to share their work and reach an audience that would otherwise not be available to them. Before the internet we relied solely on what some pony-tailed A&R prick decided his record company could make a few dollars out of, but now we can experience new and exciting music created by independent bands and songwriters from all over the world.
Paedophile Rings vs The World
The internet has indeed helped perverts contact each other and organise themselves, but their very use of the internet also provides an opportunity for law enforcement agencies to track them though ISPs and bang the bastards up. Plus, this opportunity to meet like-minded people is not just for perverts as everybody can discuss their interests with people they would never normally meet, be it pro-graps or gay cartoon ponies. Similarly, keeping in touch with far-away friends and family has never been so easy.
The internet brings and keeps people together in a way that just isn’t possible without it, and the vast, vast majority of it is wholesome and healthy, if sometimes a bit geeky.
Inaccurate Information vs Information
There is certainly enough bullshit online to warrant this being a potential ‘harm’, but inaccurate information is not a problem unique to the internet as inaccuracies and outright lies have appeared in print publications since the invention of the printing press. However, the internet has an advantage over printed publications in that with so much information available online, there is nothing preventing you from reading contrasting reports and comparing facts and figures from various sources.
Yes, there is bullshit to trawl through, but the truth is out there in an abundant and accessible way that is not even nearly possible without the internet.
Hateful Propaganda vs People Power
Hateful propaganda can indeed be spread more easily via the internet, but it is only those open to it that will be influenced by it, and this stuff won’t just suddenly appear on your screen and warp your mind before you know what’s going on. You have to be looking for it, and if you’re already looking for it then it doesn’t matter where it is, you will find it somewhere.
Compare this negative effect with the internet’s ability to spread positivity. A grand example is how it helped the cause of democracy during the Arab Spring, where the internet was used to organise pro-democracy demonstrations and protests which eventually toppled cruel dictatorships that would otherwise have remained in power. The people living under corrupt regimes have never before had such a powerful tool with which to organise themselves against the often tyrannical leaders who rule them. Previously unheard voices can now sound out around the world.
Thanks to the internet, our knowledge of what is happening in our own and other countries has never been more well-informed and we no longer have to accept what our governments and agenda-driven media tell us as we can go directly to the source and hear from the people actually experiencing the events of their countries. The voices of the people have never been louder.
And for that, internet, I salute thee
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