How do you feel when your laptop requires repairing, your Internet connection is broken, and your iPhone is left at home? Such perspectives seem to be too dangerous for you? If it is so, you are a representative of a modern digital nation which lives in our digital world.
What are the main peculiarities of this world? Why do the representatives of the digital nation differ from the people of, for instance, the 1970th – 1980th period? The information is the main concept of the digital world, and the value of the information technologies is the main peculiar feature of the digital nation. Today it is impossible to imagine our society without the Internet, mobile phones, and other technologies which give us the opportunity to access to the great amounts of the information at any place and at any time.
New conditions of life which depend on the development of the information technologies create a new pattern of the public’s life style. It is possible to say that the effects of the digital world on our modern life style can be considered as predominantly negative because the progress of the information technologies involves the changes in the typical life style of many people, influences their activities, their consciousness, and relations with the other persons.
The debates on the influence of the Internet on the young people’s minds develop since the time when the Internet became such an ordinary part of our everyday life as the television.
Nevertheless, it was rather difficult to predict such an expansion of the Internet round the world and determining Web as the giant database or a library which can function as cinema, theatre, and museums at once. According to Adam Gopnik, “the Internet is just a loud and unlimited library in which we now live – as if one went to sleep every night in the college stacks, surrounded by pamphlets and polemics and possibilities” (Gopnik).
It is only several years ago researchers began to speak openly about such issues as the negative effects of the Internet on the public’s minds and to develop the necessary investigations. The results of their researches accentuate the fact that every time when we use the Internet connection in order to find the necessary information or to participate in the virtual reality we experience the great impact which is provided by the information from the Internet.
This impact is considered as negative because our brains begin to function atypically in order to cope with a lot of the information of different kinds. This controversial information along with the discussion of many other provocative aspects is presented in the project created by Rachel Dretzin and Douglas Rushkoff which and known as Digital Nation (“Digital Nation”).
However, those processes which can be observed in our brains when we are involved in the virtual reality are still not examined properly, but those findings which are available to the public provide rather pessimistic perspectives on the question of the influence of the Internet on our minds, intelligence, and consciousness.
In his article “The Information”, Adam Gopnik also focuses on the fact that “the Internet breaks down our capacity for reflective thought” (Gopnik). Thus, a lot of the information which is offered in the Internet is given as the facts which do not stimulate the public’s critical thinking. Moreover, people are always at risks to perceive the information which is not reliable without analyzing its main points and credibility.
The other aspect of the influence of the Internet on the public’s minds is the special physical and moral state which is often the result of the everyday involvement in the virtual life. Thus, Adam Gopnik emphasizes the fact that many people when they describe their state while using the Internet are inclined to depict it in such words as “disassociation and fragmentation” and moreover, he states that “life was once whole, continuous, stable; now it is fragmented, multi-part, shimmering around us, unstable and impossible to fix” (Gopnik).
Paying attention to those effects which the Internet has on the people’s minds and consciousness, it is not surprising to accentuate the numerous facts of the public’s addiction from the Internet. Today many young people choose to spend all their spare time in the virtual reality which provides them with virtual friends, a lot of emotions and feelings. The level of the social activity of those persons who spend their days in front of their laptops is low because almost all their interactions take place in the space of the Internet.
Are their any dangerous effects in such a behavior or we should not worry? Ben Turner concentrates on the psychologists’ investigations and concludes that there is “a link between the disinterest in public participation in local and national affairs and the increase of instances of Internet addiction” (Turner). The Internet addiction hides a lot of risks for young people which are connected with the character of their social interactions, real communication, and being aware of themselves as the part of the real society, bit not the virtual reality.
The Internet addiction can be considered as the abstract notion which will not be associated with us, but with somebody else. Nevertheless, according to the data from Digital Nation, today many young people in such a developed country as South Korea have to get rid of the Internet addiction (“Digital Nation”).
The Internet addiction is interdependent with the feeling of the catastrophic loneliness which is typical for those people who made the Internet the major part of their life. In spite of the fact they spend much time communicating online with the help of chats and social networks, the feeling of loneliness which is the result of the real communication’s lack is too painful for them. Many young people are inclined to check their e-mails and Facebook instead of communicating with the members of their family.
When they reject the real interactions with real emotions they create their own illusion of communication in the Internet. The Internet communication is effective for solving business matters, but it is rather unsuccessful for personal relations. Sharing interests in music and movie with our virtual friends, we become more and more distant from our relatives and real friends. In the most dangerous cases this situation can lead to the public’s isolation.
To conclude, it is necessary to state that the rapid development of the digital world provides a lot of issues for our modern digital nation. To overcome all the provocative and controversial aspects of this process, it is significant to pay attention to the negative effects of the situation. It is impossible to imagine our life without the Internet, but it is possible to avoid the extremes in involving it in our life style.
“Digital Nation: Life on the Virtual Frontier”. PBS Frontline. 2 Feb. 2010. Video. Web. 04 Apr. 2012.
Gopnik, Adam. “The Information”. The New Yorker. 14 Feb. 2011. Web. 04 Apr. 2012.
Turner, Ben. The Internet’s Effect on Relationships: Detrimental or Beneficial? 18 Mar. 2010. Web. 04 Apr. 2012.