On April 30, 1993, the World Wide Web became publicly available. Six years later, Loyolan published this article examining the dangers and benefits of the Internet as it was first explored. We are republishing it here as part of the Loyolan Centennial.
Internet Refdeal with the problems of society
Flight. 78, No. 5, September 22, 1999
by Mike Deneen, Contributor
A day trader goes into a shootout. A 12-year-old child is introduced to pornography. The reputation of the Internet as a safe and useful tool is rapidly diminishing due to recent events.
Some suggest that the solution to ending the problems of the Internet is for our government to regulate what happens on websites. This proposal was enacted by the United States Communications Decency Act of 1996. However, people quickly began to point out something that we all should have realized much sooner than we did: the Internet is a global phenomenon. . If the United States decided to deem a site “inappropriate”, it could be deeming something that is completely legal and appropriate in other parts of the world, thus violating the rights of international users. If someone wanted to run an illegal online activity here, they could simply establish their activity in a country where their activity was legal. Online gambling is an example. Many US government officials tried to take down the gambling websites but, to their dismay, found they couldn’t because the servers were located in parts of Africa and Brazil, places obviously outside the jurisdiction of our country. Due to such complications, government involvement in these issues cannot and does not work.
We’ve all heard stories of underage people having access to material that they apparently can’t maturely handle. Whether it’s bombings or pornography, many of the problems facing society are accessible to children who can download this material. Many believe that a solution to this is impossible. This is a difficult problem, but certainly not impossible. When you started riding your bike, did your parents watch and make sure you were okay? If you were at a magazine stand with your mom or dad, did they observe that you didn’t accidentally enter the porn section? And when you wanted to rent that R-rated movie when you were nine? All these situations regulated by parents helped us grow up in a safe and decent environment. There’s absolutely no reason why parents shouldn’t monitor their children’s internet usage as well. They can password protect the system, use programs that block inappropriate sites (Net Nanny or Cyberpatrol, for example), check e-mails and only allow educational discussion forums (if any). Maybe keep the computer in a centralized part of the house and not in a kid’s room, making everything easier to monitor. Watch and use the computer with your child; parents who don’t know how to use a computer simply don’t turn it off anymore. If they don’t know how to use it, they should either learn or not buy the computer at all. Parents don’t buy a TV and let the kids watch freely while they figure out how to use it.
The two “solutions” explained above assume that the Internet is responsible for some societal ill. It is only fair to examine such a hypothesis. After the login process, a web browser window usually opens. Depending on your server, some kind of home page is opened. From there, it is up to the user to decide to go where they want. There is nothing that feeds you pornography or material that the majority of society would find offensive. If it is desirable, it is also very accessible. Unlike the real world, there are no geographic boundaries between “good” places and “bad” places (although I can’t remember the last time I saw a sign that said “get shot on it at the next exit”). But we look for what we want on the Internet; he is not looking for us. Also, when you go to a site that offers questionable material, 99.99% of the time the site asks for some sort of verification. Whether the verification asks about age or instructs the user to take the following for informational purposes only, the verification, in theory, should be taken as seriously as any other warning signs seen. in daily life. The fact that it is not imperative is another indication of the Internet user and not an indication of the Internet.
The Internet is only a reflection of our global society. If there was no demand for porn, there wouldn’t be. If there were no demand for bomb projects or gambling, there would be none. The thing is, if something is making money or causing trouble, there’s an audience for it. How to get rid of questionable content on the Internet? Frankly I do not know. How to stop the obsession with pornography? How to stop terrorism? Antisocial behavior? Gambling? Piracy? If the Internet can facilitate the pursuit of these assets, it does not promote them in any way if the Internet user is not already interested in such a subject. If it weren’t for the internet, people who love porn would still be buying porn (legally and illegally). People would keep playing. People would continue to sell and use drugs. People would always find ways to blow things up. People would still be selling illegally copied software. There would still be pedophiles and kidnappers.
The fact that the internet brings out the worst in society might actually be a positive thing. Since the internet is still a new and hot topic for many, the seedy side of it gets incredible exposure. This exhibition brings to light issues that we didn’t know existed and because of this, more and more people are getting involved in trying to prevent such activity from taking place.
There are no solid solutions for a “problem” like this. While government involvement and usage monitoring can stop some things, they are not a solution to everything. Just as you can avoid being in bad areas, you can avoid bad areas of the internet by not going there. All the problems are only a reflection of the problems of society in general. The only way to solve them is to first tackle the conflicts in society. It’s not fair to judge the Internet by its lowest common denominator. That would be like comparing all magazine editors to Larry Flynt. The Internet is a wonderful tool and a vast world of information. In many ways, it has made our lives easier and more productive. Let’s be responsible and moral users.