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The Internet and You: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Henry Ekwuruke, Nigeria Oct 12, 2005
Technology , Digital Literacy , Digital Citizenship   Opinions
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The Internet and You: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly It is the exercise of freedom and the ability to bear the heavy burden of responsibility that distinguishes man as an authentic existential being. Such a freedom and ability manifest in avenues he or she channels his energy and resources. The Internet is one of such avenues. Fortunately and more unfortunately, the freedom on the Internet opens the gate to opinions, virtues and crimes. Possible reasons are that it has no conscience and soul. As a worldwide network of computers and with communication as its irreducible essence, the Internet has really offered opportunities to further all courses of basic freedom.

When created some decades ago, this phenomenon was not intended as an instrument of worldwide communication and technology as it is today. To the question, what is the secret of this success, the answer lies primarily in its flexibility. Instead of restricting component networks to a particular manufacturer, Internet technology allows interconnection of any kind of computer network. The visual nature of web documents is another reason for its no-end explosion in usage.

Professor Philip Emeagwali, a Nigerian and one of the great minds of our time, a father of the Internet as called by the former American President Bill Clinton, and a king in the IT industry opines that the Internet’s original purpose of development was to enlighten and to entertain: to cheat and to steal. Above all, it tolerates all cultures and emotion; artifice and religion. Presently, communication has become quicker and cheaper than we could have been imagined years ago.

However, this extraordinary striking and seemingly ubiquitous phenomenon called the “Internet” must be both welcomed for the good, feared for its bad and also skipped for its ugly trends and for all that it enables. From the forgoing, it is quite extraordinary and precious. Thus, it must be defended from all that would destroy it. Such is the logic that gives the onus for this write up.

The majority of the people musing the Internet are ignorant of the numerous dangers that lurk online.

Danger to Privacy
Electronic mails and other web documents can easily be snooped and tracked by hackers and crackers. As people surf the web, they are constantly giving very personal information about themselves on websites. What is involved here has to do with the issue of privacy and security. Many are easily gullible to this because of the “cargo cult mentality” that thrives on the net. File sharing and downloads into computers increases the chances of getting “spy ware” or “sneak ware” (which tracks down information). Consequently, many become victims of identity theft – one of the worst privacy violations with devastating consequences.

While the Internet gives unprecedented information and opportunities to the public in an instantaneous and interlink basis, the problem saddles itself on our necks. It may be impossible to regulate. Presently, it provides no guarantee of information security and accuracy which is critical to sound investment decisions. Thus, the persistence of scams is something every person should be afraid of. The investing public is becoming saddled with this situation with a significant new role to sift through voluminous pieces of information that may require much time and sophisticated professional acumen.

Pornography, violence and pedophiles form the nest issue of urgent concern. Websites and news groups (an Internet service comparable to membership of a global discussion or salon and equivalent of bulletin board system) contain a variety of textual and pictorial depiction of subjects considered too obscene for normal viewing. In fact, certain websites are totally dedicated to this type of information. Unfortunately, these make the Internet stand as the greatest threat to decency. Of particular and grave concern are the dangers posed by pedophiles that go all out to prey on children and teens. As the use of the Internet becomes rampant, many children and teens can now easily access web pages. The sad tale is that masquerading pedophiles are all over the Internet looking for unsuspecting victims.

Do you know they have a lot of enticing ways to captivate your child? They can for example, allow your child access to an online account, which allows him or her to visit very expensive casinos online. Chat rooms participants typically reveal certain aspects of their background in a file frequently referred to as a PROFILE. A pedophile aimed with these vital facts about a minor, need not look for other ways to track him or her down.

The Exodus of Virtual Realities
The issues of abandoning real human communities in preference for online communities or virtual communities are fast becoming prevalent. This would not only affect our social behavior but everything about our rich African human heritage and values. It would promote individualism, self-centeredness, gross alienation and pathological isolation. Education, religion and trade would suffer!

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Henry Ekwuruke

Henry Ekwuruke is Executive Director of the Development Generation Africa International.

Solomon Ajaka | Nov 9th, 2005
This is ok and nice article!

sulayman | Nov 27th, 2005
it makes lot of people to know alot about computer and they will never seat in class and learn about it.

highly profound write up
aguogieyin igumah osazuwa | Nov 28th, 2005
i commend your effort in trying to expose all the sides of the internet for people to appreciate

Needs more features
Eric Nicolas Schneider | Nov 28th, 2005
The article focusses too much on negative arguments. Without the internet there would be no civil society as it exists today. There would be NO way to communicate issues, collaborations and there would be no TIG and no community building AFFORDABLE to people from all parts of the world. Is it more attainable for African youngsters to access ifnormation and communicate with the world on issues of concern via internet cafes and public access or via the good old LETTERS? These points are the major benefit and evolution the internet gives us. the others can ALL be addressed by individual users. INTERNET CONTROL is a serious issue and government control will easily threaten the thriving culture of communication, co-thinking and co-creation, collaboration and action that we see in the world movement for being the change we want to see in the world. Look at China - culturally creative thoughts are already crimila and the internet is CONTROLLED and closed down partly. We see this in other countries also, but there the internet is still rather FREE. We live in challenging times, but it is times where every human being must wake up and become aware and become involved and RESPONSIBLE - for the world, for their consumption, their decision-making as parents, educators, citizens, leaders - and their use of the internet. It is just part of the bigger picture. You have the power to stay HEALTHY. And you must take care of it YOURSELF, and you are NOT ALONE :-) SO, I don't think we must overstress the challenging aspects of the internet, because it easily triggers paranoia and support for those working against(!!!) its huge positive aspects. So - I prefer more balance in the article :-) Thanks for the good work and raising the dialogue, Henry! Best, Eric

EMMANUEL AKAPO | Nov 29th, 2005

Great Information
Charles Wharry | Feb 15th, 2010
I put this post on my blog , I have been online since 1994 and this information is on point and on time, keep it up Henry.

Julia | Nov 4th, 2016
great article but there is negative information about casinos! casino is the perfect place to spend time and relax! Hey, people, gambling is not the evil thing it is fun! I've recently started to play at perfect website and glad to be the part of gambling community

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