The Internet Has Become Just As Harmful As It Is Helpful


Ruqayyah Taylor, Staff Reporter

 I never thought that I would say this, but I miss handing in actual paper assignments. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, students all across the nation are currently in a full-online schooling situation. As the number of virtual files grows, downloads seem to multiply by the minute; many students and teachers are beginning to recognize how the internet and technology as a whole greatly affect us, especially in this pandemic.

While the internet was more of a luxury for all of us in the past, it is certainly now a necessity, which brings positive and negative factors to our overall living state. 

One of the many benefits of the internet is that it’s an easily accessible tool for online education. Just think about it— if we were never given Chromebooks, how exactly would we be learning right now? It seems as though our computers are now the main source of gaining information, academic-wise, and social-wise as we talk to our peers through Google Meet and Zoom. Let’s also not pretend like social media isn’t how we receive many of our “news” updates nowadays. 

As technology and online services, it becomes more important to know how it all works. Because we are now further exposed to global networking, students in our generation have a better understanding of the internet and we are more likely to secure jobs in technical fields with the skills we obtain. 

While technology may be precious and valuable to us now, and in the near future, it could also be the main contributor to declining mental health. One of the most unfortunate factors of the internet is it is the main cause of our disconnect from the real world. We are constantly occupying ourselves in a reality that is not concrete. We have become dependent on a screen, and that’s kind of scary. 

I have personally always been the type of person to regularly check my screen time, and limit the amount of time that I spend on my phone. My average time rarely ever went above three hours, unless I was taking time out of my day to enjoy a movie, binge-watch a series, or watch YouTube. These are all things that brought comfort to me and were considered self-indulgence.

Recently, my screen time has been typically over six hours, double the time that it used to be, and I truly do not remember the last time I’ve actually spent a significant amount of time watching something that I enjoyed. My phone is now just another tool that I use to attempt to connect with my friends, get information regarding school, work, and other social happenings. 

On a normal school day, before the pandemic, my Chromebook was never used more than it needed to be. My teachers knew the value of physical activities and real interactive work, which hold many more benefits than just a mundane online task. Physically interacting in class allows students to better immerse themselves in the academic world, and stimulates their minds in a way that a computer can not. 

Now I want you to ask yourself— are you a verbal, visual, or physical learner? Verbal learners have probably benefited the most from the virtual learning that we are doing. They understand concepts better by talking things out and having directions repeated to them. A lot of teachers have been doing this recently, as class discussions and lectures have certainly taken over the way classes are managed. 

Visual learners aren’t doing too bad either. As we use our computers, we are given pieces of information to look at and analyze, whether it be a chart, article, or online simulation game. While these can be favorable ways to learn for some, it surely leaves out the hands-on aspect of schooling that we were all used to with in-person instruction. 

Physical learners have been left in the dark ever since schooling changed. They no longer get the full somatic experience that should be included with receiving an education. We sit in front of a computer for more than four hours every school day, and because of this life starts to feel a lot more unreal. 

The internet has robbed us of many concrete connections. People are now more comfortable than ever with not leaving their house for days because they have their devices to keep them company instead. We meet new people through apps like Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat, but are hesitant to start a conversation with someone who we see in person. Life is becoming more of a virtual reality than ever before, and our reliance on the internet is undeniably responsible for that.

Now, you may think that I have gone a little bit too deep into this all. But seriously, think about how different your life would be right now if you were never exposed to the internet. Time will show the culmination of our minds after enduring these technological advancements— and at that point, we might just be too sucked in to even realize it.