The internet is without doubt the greatest innovation of the previous century in that it has enabled globalization on a massive scale. It has brought people together, provided easy and fast access to sources of information and transformed the way we do business, teach, learn and socialize. Yet it is not without its negative effects like most things in life. These down sides stem from the breadth and depth of the internet and the fact that it is almost impossible to regulate.
There are no limits to the amount of information available on the internet and it is continuing to expand rather like the universe. When an individual reads a particular article the internet will throw up other related articles that the system has decided he may be interested in. This sets off a chain reaction with the person moving from web site to web site and video to video. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking and before he knows it, it is two in the morning. The virtual world is much more colorful and richer than the real world in some respects and some people find it more and more difficult to tear themselves away. Before they know it, they become hooked. In fact, internet addiction is a recognized condition and lack of access creates the same withdrawal symptoms that alcohol and drug addiction do. In short, you can have too much of a good thing.
The freedom of expression available on the internet has been applauded by one and all as its best quality yet complete freedom and lack of regulation can cause problems. Freedom of speech means that every psychopath, sadist, pedophile, terrorist; in short, any undesirable individual can say whatever he likes. Sexual sadists may have websites, terrorists may post the abc of bomb making, pedophiles may post child pornography. Although governments have been combating such people, the dark web is indeed a very dark place. The World Wide Web includes not only a lot of stuff that is very good and useful but also a lot that is extremely dangerous and detrimental. Caution needs to be exercised when enjoying all that it has to offer.
To sum up, every innovation feels wonderful at the beginning and the down sides start to emerge in time. The same is true for the internet. The initial euphoria should not blind us to all the dangers lurking out there. The vulnerable and impressionable should be provided with help and guidance when they are using the internet and the fight against undesirable websites should continue.