Redefining The Internet For A New Generation

As a computer science major, I am always excited to flip through Popular Science or similar publications to see emerging tech. The age of the internet has allowed society to develop a way of disseminating large amounts of data across the globe. Its existence brings us the chance to learn about anything we want, something our ancestors could only marvel at. Unfortunately, the development of social media has changed the dynamic of how we use the Internet. Rather than exploring most of humanity’s collective knowledge, we have chosen to turn the internet into a worldwide popularity contest. Who can get the most likes on their Facebook/Instagram/Tumblr photo? This component really accelerates our adoption of the Internet because it feeds into our primal instinct to compete.

Growing up in the ’90s, we were acquainted with the internet, but still knew how to spend time outside of waiting for our dial up to connect. This younger generation can’t say that, they use the internet twenty-seven hours a week on average. Serious levels of internet usage can have serious consequences for this younger generation. Spending so much time on the Internet can lead to the development of antisocial behaviors in adolescents. Being sedentary also increases the risk of developing obesity and the associated health issues (high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease). Part of redefining the Internet is understanding moderation. Try exercising instead of “surfing” the web. Even if you don’t have a lot of time, you can still do these quick micro exercises.

During the dawn of the Internet, we incorporated this new knowledge into our idea of a new millennium. This would help us communicate with each other, and bring information that was previously unavailable to us instantaneously. Today, we think of the Internet as a way for people to argue, rant, or spread untrue “facts” with their friends online. We have to change what the Internet is for future generations. Let’s bring back the zeal of the new millennium and turn the Internet into a tool that elevates our collective understanding of the world around us. Let’s fill each other’s news feeds with extraordinary deeds, acts of compassion, and other thought-provoking material that awakens understanding. Like anything, the Internet is what we make it. It can be a true force for good in the world; let’s make it happen.

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