The Internet and Its Influence on Society

             Most people will agree that the Internet has had a tremendous impact upon society. But does the Internet have a positive or negative influence on society? This is a question that has sparked much debate. Many people believe that the Internet is negatively influencing society by increasing pornography, fraud, and other negative elements. Some say that, because the Internet is not regulated, it contributes to crime and decreases the safety of human beings. However, despite these negative aspects, the Internet has opened up many new doors of opportunity for people, improving the way we live, work, and play. In addition, the Internet has become a critical path for research. For these reasons, and many others, many people believe that the positive influences of the Internet far outweigh the negative ones.
             Ten years ago, the Internet was used by only a small population of the world. Fewer understood what the Internet even was. Today, however, that has all changed in record-breaking time. The Internet is everywhere, and thousands of new users are gaining access to it everyday1. This recent explosion of interest and usage of the Net has the potential for making the Net into one of the major societal shaping forces of the future.
             Jeff Cole’s UCLA Internet Report documented the political, social, cultural and economic changes that have occurred as a result of the Internet (Cole, 2000). According to Cole, as a result of the Internet, “for the first time in the history of television, the number of children viewers had dropped. Kids were watching less TV. They had finally found something they liked more - the Internet.” He also realized that “while television is about leisure and entertainment, the Internet's about work, school and play.”
             The Internet has proven to be a very useful tool (Purdy, 2002). Students can get help with homework, investors can easily track stocks, and fans can easily access sports scores and statistics. I...

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