The Internet: Many Disadvantages


‘Daddy, who was John Rockefeller?’

‘The internet is not only for Facebook, Twitter and downloading music. Google it’ was the reply.  Today the internet is seen as having the solution to all questions and issues posed to the human race.  People in this day and age who cannot use the internet are seen as living in the primitive ages. The internet can be used to reunite with long lost friends, it has supposedly made shopping easier and it has also made it easier to get information we want to know and even the things we don’t want to know.  However, like all things and privileges given to the human race, it has been abused and put to wrong use.

It is common in the world of celebrities to have stalkers, paparazzi and the lot who have nothing else to do with their time than chase and harass normal people who happen to be in the realm of the public world.  Ask Kanye West who attacked a photographer who had been following him and annoying him in the process all in a bid to get a picture he could sell to sites like Bossip, TMZ and Perez Hilton who have made a name from celebrity news. Tiger Woods is the latest victim of sordid internet revelations of his private life. In some cases photographs and videos are doctored to depict celebrities as being involved in various acts of pornography.

The internet has made it easier to gather information. However we must all ask ourselves: “Is that always a good thing?” A discussion with some of my cousins helped me realise that the most vital information that should be kept private is available one click away. Birthdays, places of work, email addresses, telephone numbers are available for all to see. You and I know that when this information falls into the wrong hands it could result in another sad story.  Finding out the places where people have been has not been any easier. Going through my Facebook home page and seeing “John Smith is attending Euphoria”is not uncommon the same way reading Ricardo Garcia’s “Going to Oxford Street today with my friends” is common practice. If I had ulterior motives, this information would be of significant aid in coming across Ricardo or John. The internet has made things easier but we have to be cautious with the information we put up.

It has also become common for children and youths nowadays to watch porn via the internet despite the various restrictions by their parents. Piece of Advice to parents: Don’t bother putting restrictions on the internet as it would lead to what I would call the Rebound effect which makes them go after those things they have been warned against the same way telling a child not to touch a hot pressing iron gives them more incentive to touch the iron. I regard myself as a piece of evidence to this allusion. In my life my parents have never for one day put restrictions on my internet access and I am proud to say I have never watched porn over on the internet. (This does not mean I watch it via alternative means).

The internet has also aided breakdown in relationships with people of the opposite sex. It is common in relationships between two people to find one partner cyber stalking the other partner. Cyber stalking refers to the use of the internet or electronic means to stalk someone. This brings with it an air of insecurity and suspicion between partners, indirectly leading to the breakdown of relationships. This is obviously not the main reason for the break down of relationships but it plays a significant role.

Partners are not the only ones guilty of this crime. Parents do it too in order to keep a tab on their children and know what they are doing. The growing number of parents on Facebook is proof. My dad is one of the growing number of parents on Facebook but as far as I know he does not use it primarily to keep tabs on me.( He’s got better things to do and moreover, I’m a good boy). As for my technology illiterate mother getting her to set up an email address was difficult. Getting her to check them was even more difficult so Facebook does not even come into the picture. Once in a while, she comes when I am using the computer to check my ever changing Facebook name or look at my profile pictures as she has an inaccurate view that I am vain. (At least I don’t think I am). A lot of people I know have found a way round this problem via ways I would prefer to keep secret to ensure the parents do not succeed totally in “The Facebook Battle”.

World renowned fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld is also famous for his strong dislike of the internet. He is of the view that the internet has affected shopping negatively as he argues that the internet takes the fun in shopping away. This is largely true as I know of people who have bought clothes with sizes described large enough to fit them only to buy them and found out they were unsuitable. As the internet has risen, so has the number of websites dealing in counterfeit products selling them at cheaper prices, thus leaving the original designers at a disadvantage.

The fashion industry is probably not the only industry facing a downward spiral as a result of the internet. The music industry is crying out loud “Save me from the internet”.  As technology has advanced, it has become common practice for people to snub buying albums, preferring to download them instead. The downside is that this way artistes who put out music that has understandably taken a lot of labour do not reap the fruit. Sites like iTunes, Amazon and HMV which were primarily set up to sell the music released by the artistes digitally and serve as an alternative to purchasing CDs are snubbed for sites like Zshare, Megaupload, Rapidshare and Sharebee where the same music can be found for free. “Why buy what I can get for free?” seems to be the watch word of our serial downloaders.

Hip hop artiste 50 Cent is the most accurate example. In 2003, his first album ‘Get Rich or Die Trying’ sold 872,000 units in its first week. His second LP ‘The Massacre’ released in 2005 sold 1.1 million units. Next up was ‘ Curtis’, released in 2007 selling 691,000 units while his latest effort released at the end of 2009 ‘Before I Self Destruct’ sold 160,00 units after the one week period. In 2003 and 2005 when his albums came out downloading music was not as popular as it was in 2009, making his decreased chart performances understandable.  Serial downloaders need to remember that the artistes need to chop too.

The internet has solved a lot of our problems but I would advise people to be more cautious with it. The ugly truth is, at the end of the day, whether you love it or hate it, the internet has permeated daily living that it is amazing, contemplating how we had survived before its advent. Maybe I should Google that as well.

•Idowu Oluwamayowa is a student of Market Rasen De Aston School, UK.

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