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What If The Internet Doesn’t Turn Out To Be That Great?

Posted Jan 02 2013 10:02pm

I wonder how the current usage of the internet will be viewed by future generations.  I think the 2000s truly started a societal shift with the widespread adoption of the internet.  Cellphones have exploded at the same time, so it may be hard to separate out the effects of the two.

What I’m growing tired of is the unquestioned value of access to the internet.  That seems to be the only position you read about – the internet is great, give people more access to the internet, all the time, 24/7, etc.

But what if… the internet doesn’t turn out to be that great in terms of its net impact on society?

Sure, it brings people together, spreads ideas, etc.  All this has been written about over and over again.  But what about the negative effects?

Let me frame things a different way.  First, as far as objective data, the net effects of the internet on society is unknown at this point.  Studies are few and far between.  Regardless, the internet and cellphones are becoming more and more dominant by the day.

For example, over the next two years, do you think the number of minutes the average person spends on the internet per day will increase or decrease (or stay the same)?

Over the next two years, do you think the number of minutes the average person spends on their smartphone will increase or decrease?

In my opinion, all signs point towards more and more internet usage, meaning we have not even come close to peak immersion rates in the internet.  Or from my perspective, we haven’t hit bottom yet.

This could very well parallel the obesity epidemic, where it started with “no big deal, people are gaining a little weight” to a full-blown epidemic.

I’ll conclude with some general thoughts: checking Facebook 20 times a day is not normal.  Spending half of a person’s waking hours on the internet is not normal.  Checking a cellphone 20 times an hour is not normal.

Just from a common sense perspective, I don’t see how anyone can think these are healthy behaviors.  Yet I seem to be in the minority in thinking that the internet is addictive and may have increasingly negative effects on society.

I guess we’ll see…

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