The Social Construction of the Internet

Essay by NoahKUniversity, Master'sA+, May 2004

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The internet is a relatively new concept created in the 1970s for the US Department of Defense to transfer encrypted data quickly and securely across the country in case of a nuclear attack and failure of phone landlines. Since then, the internet has evolved into a multitude of computer and wireless networks that are now accessible to the common family through the advent of micro technology that allows the computer that was once as big as a room to fit into the corner of a room. Users who log onto the internet can instantly communicate with people all around the world. Data about anything and everything is literally available at the end of ones' fingertips. The internet is transforming modern and social economic life as we know it. Modern psychologists do not agree on whether or not the internet is beneficial. Some believe that the internet increases social involvement and promotes psychological well-being, but others believe it is more detrimental to human economic and social life through less social involvement and greater depression with greater use.

Other psychologists, such as Dr. Kimberly Young argue that "internet addiction is causing social isolation and forcing a break from genuine face to face relationships" (Young 5), while even more argue that the internet leads to better social relationships by freeing people from mundane restraints of geography, isolationism, or factors outside normal controls (e.g., illness, schedules). The stance that many are taking today is that the internet simply allows people to become more socially involved because of common interest. I believe that the internet does not cause loneliness or depression and in this paper, I will show how the internet can be used as a positive coping mechanism for these universal feelings through support groups and greater access to information. I will also explore...