The internet is arguably one of the greatest inventions in modern times, and it has unquestionably changed the course of humanity. Because of the internet, people today have access to a virtually unending stream of information, thus making everything from business to education vastly more efficient. However, such great advantages inevitably comes with a handful of disadvantages. In fact, these disadvantages are becoming more common, especially with children and teen agers, prompting some experts to sound the alarm and ask for intervention from the government, mental health professionals, etc. Therefore, what follows below is a look at these disadvantages of the internet, including the loss of privacy and the negative effects on how the brain works.
First of all, it is no surprise that most people today live their lives online, at least in some respects. That is, it is common now for people to work remotely, pay their bills online, do their banking online, interact with friends and family through social media, etc. While this is much more convenient and provides a number of other benefits, it makes people more vulnerable. This is because all of these websites require the user to divulge personal information or they collect this information without the user being aware of it. For example, if someone does his or her banking online, then he or she, of course, needs to input the account number, password, and a variety of other information for verification. Likewise, somebody’s social media accounts collect information about the user’s internet history, who they interact with, etc. This collected information is generally secure, but, in the wrong hands, it can wreak havoc. That is, hackers are constantly bombarding these databases looking for security weaknesses, and, unfortunately it is a common occurence to see yet another successful hack in the news.
Just this year, credit agency Experian reported that more than 143 million people had their sensitive stolen. This includes their social security numbers, their birthdates, their mothers’ maiden names, their address, etc. The Washington Post claims that this information could potentially be used to steal people’s identity or to commit a variety of forms of fraud. “Social Security numbers and birth dates are particularly sensitive data, giving those who possess them the ingredients for identity fraud and other crimes” (Timberg, 2017). Furthermore, even if this information is still in control of the company that collected it, it is often used to increase the effectiveness of advertising. This means that the company will determine which ads are best suited for you, and they will even sell the data to other companies for this purpose. Therefore, based on the above, the internet collects the personal data of people in many different ways, thus basically eliminating privacy.