The Internet has been a revolution for society allowing people from all over the world to communicate and express their ideas and feelings. The Internet has also changed the way society treats people and the balance of power.
In a real life situation the majority of people would avoid speaking to a disfigured individual or a child even if they were intellectual or another high ranking position in society. The
Internet is the saviour of these people for it hides the simple traits of age, looks and class. The Internet can allow people to gain positions and gain friends that they would never have the chance or be acceptable to have in real life. Many people have set up their own web design businesses that they say on their web sites "We offer these services" but it is really just them. Some of these people are very young from the age of 18 to 20 and even some under the age of 18 years.
For example the maker of a popular online fantasy game www.p-universe.com is only 19 years of age but he has managed to construct his own a large online game with hundreds of users by himself. He has managed to deal with servers, acquire banner ads, reply to hundreds of e-mails and fix bugs in his game all by himself. If he had gone to a software development company and was employed to work on a game; he would likely be shunted to a far less important job than core design and coding. This shows how the Internet can give someone a great deal of experience and social status (among players and coders who like his game).
On the BBC Television show "Making a Genius" a young boy was mentioned who in conference and public acted like a boy of his age but when he spoke via e-mail he sounded intelligent and like an adult. Some adults were unimpressed by his intelligence and do not think it was actual intelligence because they had not spoke to him over e-mail. This is another example of how the internet can break the barriers of age and social class.
The Balace of Power
Society has also changed on the net in the balance of power. The power members of society: celebrities, professional criminals, fashion setters etc (all these people have been given their power through their titles)become the much less powerful than they are in real life. The social group of advanced computer users, Geeks, Nerds, Dwebs, Hackers, they have many names have a much larger power on the Internet because of their knowlege of the mechanics of the internet and not just a position they have been given (a friendly surfer). The point about the balance of power change is not that the people who have authority by position lose some of their power, but that anyone can get to that position via knowledge. for example, in a recent survey of the best legal advice on the web, a fifteen year old boy managed to come in the top 200, purely by virtue of the knowledge of the law he had aquired from watching and reading lots of crime fiction. This knowledge (combined with some common sense) then allowed him to know exactly how to advise people with serious legal problems.
New users now deciding the Internet is cool and not so geeky are walking into an area which has been dominated by this group since it was created. New users to the Internet are targets in real net crime and pranks. Inexperienced people who are considered cool in real life are easily made fun of on the net and far more damage can be done. Many social groups are picked on at school or around areas but Geeks have the wrath to fight back once people come on to the Internet. When the Geeks strike back on the net they can destroy a brand new £1000 computer with their skills. This can even become legal when new users are tricked into accepting terms of agreements allowing Geeks to infect with viruses or enter peoples' computers legally.
By the amount of advertisments run on television today regarding Internet shopping sites we all know that shopping is becoming a strong enterprise on the net. By selling items over the Internet companies can save money on employing shop assistants, buying shops and land, administration costs and a whole manner of other things. The plus for us the buyers, is that the shops then sell their goods at lower prices and be able to buy many more of the 'embarrasing' items without being starred at in a busy shopping centre.
However because it is cheaper to run Internet sites and less staff are needed the workforce suffers. If a company went into complete net intergration hundreds of jobs would be lost because a small team of people can run an Internet site. Another bad factor is that people will not leave their homes to go out shopping so they will not socialise in shops, get needed exercise or help their local ecomony. Many shopping sites are international so their profits may not be going into your country's ecomony.
Working from Home
The workplace for most is increasingly becoming more stressful with longer hours, polluted air in big cities and so on. The internet offers the way out. Some bussinesses are starting to allow their employees to work at home for 2-4 days a week sending their work in via e-mail or a direct connection to their companies Intranet 1. Working from home has many advantages:
*You can take short breaks for snacks and relaxation
*You don't need to pay for child care
*You save money on fuel from driving to work everyday
*You can start when you like so you can start early or late
However this system only works for computer orientated jobs and it can also result in people not doing the work at all and just staying at home and watching TV and even increase stress because of leaving work till the last minute.
Society is increasingly prioritising sex and the internet has increased that. The internet is dominated by domain names with a sexual nature owned by pornography web sites that charge a small entry fee. These sites allow people to virtually anonymously view hardcore pornography without being called a pervert or being embrassed by purchasing sex magazines. Whether this will enhance people's sex lives and attitudes to sex or make people only think about sex and result in sex related crime is unknown. Out of article fact: Pornography sites are the only web sites that actually make serious money on the internet
See pornography for more details
Freedom of Speech
The Internet allows anyone to may not have the courage or it may not be acceptable in their area to reach out their beliefs and ideas to others. This lets people who are worried about others laughing or holding predjudice against them because they have a certain view can promote their view or idea on the Net where they can find other people who agree with them. The only adverse effect is that beliefs which are illegal or regarded as sick such as Childporn, NeoNazism, Racism etc can be broadcast through the net with little or no censorship.
The Internet is here and here to stay it's really up to us how it affects Society. It has allowed people from all over the world to express their ideas, comunicate and have fun. It has allowed minority groups much more power than they have in Real Life. There are many changes to Society because of the Internet; whether they enhance or ruin our lives is up to us.