Funny thing, the internet. Bloody brilliant idea, something just about everyone has access to and contains massive amounts of information. We’re privileged to live in a world where any information we desire can be accessed whenever we like so long as we’re within that wi-fi modem’s range.
However I think after this blog post many of you may view me a little differently in that regard. I’m going to be likely the only person among thousands here that has this to say about the internet.
I think the world would be better off without the internet.
You all know the gist of how my mind works and how passionate I can be about my thoughts, so brace yourself. This will likely be quite controversial.
“The internet is a genius and amazing idea. It is kind of like communism. It is really great on paper but in practice someone always has to screw it up.” ~A very dear friend of mine
The internet was a tool. It was meant to make things easily accessible. It successfully achieved this, and far more than its creator originally intended! Unfortunately… it also achieved something I’m sure the creator of it did not intend on doing.
He created a weapon that harms people from multiple fronts, ranging from wisdom, emotion, language, communicational and even the state of the world’s economy and various governments.
Yeah, there’s plenty of positives that the internet brings. MLP Forums exist, me and many friends likely would never meet but… then I stop and think to myself: “If I didn’t waste all my time behind a computer screen, would I be better at face-to-face communication? Would I be smarter from reading books and researching as a pass time? Would I be doing better in school?” And as I begin asking these questions I realize there are a lot of things that I could be doing rather than being on the internet.
You’re right. I could choose not to use it. But I think all of us are far too deep in various forms of crap in order to do that. And not just my online responsibilities, such as ‘moderation’ and working on the Poniverse gaming project. I’m more referring to the fact that we’ve found so much other stuff to occupy our time with. Most of these things are certainly fun, gaming, laughing at entertaining pictures, internet memes. They’re all fun and worth a laugh! But there’s too damn much of it!
Have a look at this. The sheer number of different kinds of memes should be plenty of evidence that there’s a lot of stuff out there. Sure, lots of it is probably false and uninteresting. But think of it a moment, how many of these 10,532 memes do you know of? How many do you find entertaining? Now think of how many instances of each meme there are, with different captions on the same picture, and edits, and adjustments.
They’re all fun, but there’s so much it swallows the subject whole. I’ve managed to get myself lost in Imgur and the meme websites, and even youtube, quite often. Even when I should be doing other work, or something productive. Most people feel some sort of guilt over this, and I’m not accusing those that don’t.
Think of how many more great minds there’d be out there if we dedicated our time to learning and growing instead of sitting in front of the screen watching the same picture with minor changes each time over and over again.
Now… dare I get started on the “cyberbullying” and “anonymity” topic?
I won’t touch up on this too much, because most of us have heard all of this stuff before.
- Over half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online, and about the same number have engaged in cyber bullying.
- More than 1 in 3 young people have experienced cyberthreats online.
- Over 25 percent of adolescents and teens have been bullied repeatedly through their cell phones or the Internet.
- Well over half of young people do not tell their parents when cyber bullying occurs.
- Around half of teens have been the victims of cyber bullying
- Only 1 in 10 teens tells a parent if they have been a cyber bully victim
- Fewer than 1 in 5 cyber bullying incidents are reported to law enforcement
- 1 in 10 adolescents or teens have had embarrassing or damaging pictures taken of themselves without their permission, often using cell phone cameras
- About 1 in 5 teens have posted or sent sexually suggestive or nude pictures of themselves to others
- Girls are somewhat more likely than boys to be involved in cyber bullying
Hopefully those stats will strike you as extremely concerning.
I’m accusing nobody here. I just think this is something that is seriously disturbing about the internet. There’s a ridiculous number of speeches and walls of text about this topic, unfortunately from personal experience I have some doubts these get very far.
So why do I include it at all?
I’m sixteen years old. How many writers of those professional articles and news clips are fellow teenagers who feel extremely passionate about this, and have experienced these troubles themselves? Maybe more than I think, but I’d like to make it clear, I am a teenaged social rights and justice activist.
I believe if more people my age raised their voices things may start happening. Call it a dream, a distant hope, but a dream doesn’t become a reality unless you believe it can.
Regardless of how I appear online, I am not a social person.
I have attempted to make an effort, a valiant effort, to improve me real life communication skills. I can’t think quickly, I need time to gather my thoughts and write things down. Correct and control myself.
However as of lately I've discovered it’s actually working. I’m better at communicating my ideas and thoughts through voice and word of mouth.
Think of the days when people wrote letters, two-hundred years ago. When you see those the language in them is… confusing? No, spectacular. (mywordiloveitalics) The people back then were experts at verbal communication, so when they sat down to write a well thought-out letter they wrote what could be consider masterwork tales and accounts of personal experiences. Why? Because they had time to think about it, something they rarely had back then. Therefore there communication skills were excellent, because they were forced to use it.
Oh yes some of you can already see where this is going.
1. The decline of the English language
2. The ease of mistreatment behind a keyboard.
Now… again I won’t touch up on the second point much, but hear me out.
When I say the decline of the English language I’m referring to things like this:
(Yahoo Answers. The answer displayed isn’t entirely accurate to all of Canadia. At least the questioner used a question mark.)
Yeah, and that’s not the worst of it. Browse yahoo answers for a while some day. See what you can find. Then you have my permission to curl up into a fetal position and cry.
As someone who loves ancient literature (that explains a lot) I enjoy writing styles such as Tolkien’s, and Beowulf’s translated tale. Dang I wish I lived in the times of Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. Those seem like the pinnacle time of wisdom and great writing. Then technology began picking up speed and mankind became a little too bold, even a little too lazy, eventually resulting in the internet and the famous trend setter “lol.”
Me and my friend (the same one who uttered the communism quote earlier) go to the library for 2 – 3 hours per week, and dedicate ourselves to either writing, or reading. I’ve been reading Beowulf lately, and he some of J.R.R. Tolkien’s more obscure written works, edited and released by his own son Christopher Tolkien. This was my first step to disconnecting myself from the internet a little. I choose not to rely on the internet to gain my information and read, either historical fiction or actual ancient history/mythology books.
Those are my interests of course, and not yours necessarily.
My point is, we’ve learned quite a bit lately in regards to the Celtic culture and history, as well as found some great literature to learn from. (We are both writers. We are fascinated by fantasy worlds and fictional history.)
Now to conclude…
I am a teenager living in the past, longing for the times of Tolkien to return. It’s not possible of course, I missed that time period. Unless some of those post-apocalyptic stories about technology come true, we’re stuck here. Yeah, maybe this is a venting blog, but I do think we can take things away from this. We likely can’t completely disconnect ourselves from the internet and/or technology. (Heck in this modern world that’d probably be a bad idea.) However we can improve it for ourselves.
I’m going to start by limiting my internet or computer time. I doubt I’ll keep it consistently but you can be damn sure I’ll try.
Thanks for taking the time to read this blog post. If you have something to say, feel free to comment and discuss, but please keep it civil. If you want to debate I’d like it to be calm and with care.
If you like these sorts of blog entries, I will likely be making more. Though your ratings and ‘brohooves’ (or lack thereof) will help me decide when and what my next blog entry will be.
~Matthew E.M. Grice, Marcato