Internet Changed Our Lives – In Just 25 Years

It is astonishing to think just how much the Internet changed our lives in the 25 years since its inception. One big change is how easily we now access information. The answer to almost any question is right at our fingertips. Anyone, anywhere, can tap into a seemingly endless source of information, as long as they can simply get online. In the not too distant past, if you wanted to peruse a rare book in a library you basically had to provide a background check and a blood sample. Now, with just a click of the mouse, you can access digital copies of these treasures. Even programs, books, and music, some of which was thought to have been lost forever, have now been immortalized by means of the Internet.

The Internet changed our lives by changing the world’s economy, too. This happened in a number of ways. One way is how people purchase goods. In our society, going shopping is now more a matter of sitting down to your computer, rather than physically going down to the mall. Patterns have changed. People now go to a store to try on items they intend to buy. However, they then go online to actually purchase these items. Not only are there almost unlimited options for what one can buy on the Internet, we do not even have to wait for delivery. Books, music, movies, etc., all can be downloaded immediately after purchasing.

Because the Internet is available on almost all mobile devices, getting lost is not the problem it once was. GPS can help us get almost anywhere. It can map out how to get to the concert hall, while locating restaurants along the way.

Changing how media is produced is another way the Internet changed our lives. Moreover, it has changed how we use it. In the past, a vinyl record was a physical entity added to a home collection; the end result of an entire process of production. Now a music ‘album’ is a simple data file, possibly one of thousands you may have, downloaded straight to your device. What is more, most types of media are now interactive. You can download and watch every season of a show, then go online to chat about it.

The Internet has also connected us in a way that was never dreamed to be possible. We can talk to someone half way around the world, just as easily as we can to the person next door. Not only that, but we have many more options in how we choose to communicate. We can chat, Skype, tweet, comment, and pin, to our heart’s desire. There are actually entire web groups of people who have never actually met in person.

To quote Spiderman’s uncle, Ben: “With great power, comes great responsibility.” This is true not only for super spider-like powers, but also when it comes to the Internet. With this powerful tool we have the ability to do great good, but we also have the ability to do great harm. For example, we now have new threats to our privacy, and we can be targets of internet fraud. Other dangers include cyber-bullying and internet pornography. Just as troubling, once something is on the Internet, it never truly goes away. Even if the Internet does not cause you to lose your identity, it may cost you valuable time. For example, there is no end to video clips of cute cats. Additionally, there are pages of video tutorials on how to do your hair.

Truth be told, even though we have 25 years of the Internet in the rear-view mirror, we do not really know how the Internet will change and affect us going forward. The Internet changed our lives in profound and substantial ways. What will our future relationship with the Internet be? Only time will tell.