Back in the year 2000, my life was like this: playing tag and Barbie with my cousins, Watching boyband music videos on MTV, and using volumes of encyclopaedia bought in the 80’s for research and doing assignments. I remember when the whole family would gather in the living room to record a voice tape for an aunt working abroad and send it with photos taken during a special occasion. My aunt would then call a month after it was sent, telling us she received the package that morning.
Those were the days—days that are long gone. Ten years later, I find myself amazed at how things evolved. There are less (or no) kids playing outside, YouTube seems to be better than MTV, and Google is a verb. What was written five years ago is already outdated. No more voice tapes nor photos in my aunt’s mailbox. Not that the family stopped loving her, but chatting with her via Skype is more convenient.
It was also in the year 2000 that Mr Bill Gates wrote an essay entitled “Shaping the Internet Age” where he mentioned the things that the Internet is able and would be able to do. He wrote that in a time that a computer with Internet connection is not exactly a ‘must have’ in a home (here in the Philippines, at least). But here we are now. A lot has come, and Mr Gates has been correct.
Here I am, Internet. Mold me!
Whatever we do on the Internet, whether it be research, social networking, shopping, or even making yourself popular via YouTube, we expect things to be in front of us with just one click. This is probably the reason why my generation has short atten—oh what’s that?—tion span. We can multitask better than any other generation before us. The Internet made us work faster, but it has also made us impatient, lazy (as shwn by our tlnt 2 typ in shrtcut LOL), even paranoid at times.
One of the things Mr. Gates did not emphasize on the article is that the internet will also become an avenue for the people to connect not only through talking/chatting/e-mailing with each other but also through playing games online. When you enter a computer shop, there are only two things that the people do: computer games and others. Even those who cannot afford to have their own computer are paying only to play with their peers from other places. Who can blame them? It’s fun, it’s enjoyable, and it’s something you can talk about. I even know a person who got to travel to another country because of his being a gaming demi-god.
However, these games that the Internet and the computer offers also have a general effect on the people of this generation. They do not experience the feeling of making friends in the neighborhood and playing tag because they are holed up in their rooms or computer shops all day, Kids even of young age easily learn foul language used in these games (Hello, Grand Theft Auto), and apparently, kids these days are harder to discipline (this is only according to what I see, friends).
Limewire. Torrents. iTunes. Gone are the days of bulky CDs that ‘skip’ when played a lot. File sharing and music downloads are a music lover’s best friends. I know I am guilty of stealing in this way, because I do not pay for the songs and videos I have in my iPod, and I know that I cannot support my favorite artist because of this. A lot of music lovers like me would probably think of the best practical way of enjoying their favorite songs, and I know it is ridiculous to buy a whole CD from the record store just because I liked one song. It is not also practical to buy a song from iTunes only to remove it later. I wanted to support my favorite artists, but the prices are just too high. If only they could lower their prices and have an alternate way of paying (for those who are still asking parents to have credit cards *ehem*), then I will, without a doubt.
Hi, I am your stalker.
The Internet could be a source of all the (juicy) information you will need. You can know the latest news about your favorite actor or whether your ultimate crush is seeing someone. The Internet can be very helpful, but it can also make someone very vulnerable. It can make the sweetest girl a stalker, or a random schoolmate into a blackmailer because of the information it offers. It is human nature to be interested in other people’s lives, that is why the Internet is dearly loved. But because it is also human nature to protect oneself, it can make people wary of what will happen to them, but nevertheless continue with what they are doing. Stalkers and hackers like that. The only secret to not being stalked or hacked is to NEVER disclose any personal information.
BTW, IMO… (By The Way, In My Opinion…)
Mr Gates said, ten years ago, “In the years ahead, the Internet will have an even more profound effect on the way we work, live and learn… Because it amplifies our potential in so many ways, it’s possible that the long-term impact of the Internet could equal that of electricity, the automobile, and the telephone all rolled together.” He could have never been more correct.
The Internet is such a big hit to everyone because it supplements one’s identity, intelligence, and desires. It gives everyone a fair chance to express themselves. It allows us to do things without lifting a finger (or with just lifting fingers, if you want it to be literal). Personally, the Internet helped me a lot and saved me dozens of times. With the Internet I am able to land and keep a job without even seeing my bosses and clients (how convenient is that?), and keep up with the pace of being a student as well. I have trusted the Internet with my hard-earned money. Watching YouTube videos and connecting with friends through social networking sites gives me time to ‘chillax’ (this is one of the effects of being part of this generation: inventing and merging words) in spite of crazy schedules and deadly deadlines.
With the praise I have given to the Internet in the previous paragraph, you might think that I have never been victimized by Internet fraud. I have. I have been stalked by someone I don’t know who made up things about me. My computer crashed a hundred times because of viruses from random sites. I have shared information with the Internet only to regret it later. But I believe these things happened because of my irresponsibility with the information I disclose and the way I use the Internet. I have learned that the Internet is a friend and a predator, depending on how you use it. You can work hand in hand or you can be entirely swallowed by its endless applications and the threats it poses. By using the Internet responsibly and balancing it with your real life, we can still enjoy life’s pleasures, like watching Chuck re-runs on the internet with your closest buddies, recording a video blog and sending the link to your mom abroad, or laughing out loud while looking at your photos from last week’s sleepover via Facebook.
Oh the wonders of the Internet. It can bring people closer together or farther apart. And this is just the beginning.