Internet : Choice or Compulsion?

Internet | Life In Nepal Blog

Internet; the global network connecting billions of computers and electronic devices has a long journey from being a defensive measure in the cold war to attacking measure in the modern world, from having time saving history to time killing present. Though the internet was first deployed in 1969, it was only in the 1990s that it became available to the public. With the flow of time the internet users has grown a mile a minute reaching 4.57 billion by April,2020. The Internet, a man-made thing, even has the capability of destroying the life of a man.

The internet has led to a complete transformation in communication, availability of knowledge as well as social interaction facilitating all the age groups and fulfilling  their choices. However, as with all major technological changes, there are positive and negative effects of the internet on society too. Positive use of the Internet makes our lives easy and simple.

The Internet provides us useful data, information, and knowledge for personal, social and economic development and it is up to us to utilize our time on the world wide web in a productive manner. While the same internet can ruin one’s life in the “blink of an eye” without even realizing it.

As the world is trying to conquer the present situation against the Coronavirus, the most important safety measure seems to be physical distancing, social interaction is only possible in the digital space now. Government has increased the period of lockdown again, so amid this uncertainty of closure, many academic institutions have utilized the internet as a platform to run online classes.

It might seem much easier to run the whole academia on this specific platform where you don’t even have to shake your leg even a bit, but this can also be a tough problem for the ones who didn’t consider the internet as the basic need. The academic leaders have taken an initiative to run the classes even at uneven times. Earlier where the Internet as my topic portrays was a choice but with the time being it has created an atmosphere of compulsion.

This kind of need has arisen as the emergency measure at the moment, because nobody knows until when the virus is going to suck up the whole world and the information technology presents us the possibility of “ distanced closeness”. As we always claim the 21st century is the revolutionary world so the spirit of this age says time is money and nobody wants to lose time.

And the Internet in the present scenario has been a perfect “life-saviour” for workaholics or let me phrase it “everyone”. Interaction in the digital space also requires attention and safety measures. According to the latest news, more than half a million users’ data were hacked from an e-conference site and was even leaked out.

“Right to education”- Article 31 , one of the fundamental rights of each citizen needs to be governed properly. Government is right now challenged to fulfill all these rights in this crucial and weak situation. When everything around us comes to a halt,  the nation itself isn’t supposed to ask people to buy “data” just to broaden their mind.

If education is the responsibility of the state, then education board and telecommunication authority needs to work together and must be able to show their courage to make bold decisions to provide free internet access to educators and students during this pandemic.

The authorities governing education, telecommunication, and electricity need to assemble to make the dream of virtual class come to  reality. The Internet service providers of our country like Ncell, Nepal telecom comes with a high-price which is possibly difficult to afford.

And when we look at the bigger picture, the Internet doesn’t really seem to be available in the rural areas, where students like Ram in Jumla are waiting for the government to also look and resolve their problems. So here comes a question, can we entirely substitute our classes with virtual class in the existing circumstances?

Usage of e-learning, messaging, and videoconferencing tools is also growing rapidly, placing additional load on these Internet-based applications and platforms and generating additional traffic. And with more people staying at home, online media consumption is poised to increase as well.

Between January and late March, internet traffic increased by around a quarter in many major cities, according to Cloudflare, a US company that provides network infrastructure to businesses around the world.

In July 2016, the United Nations declared access to the Internet to be a human right. During this  pandemic, it has become even clearer that access to the Internet and digital technologies has been a lifesaver for many people around the world. Proper and authentic health related information can reduce the spread of the virus and save lives, while many online services such as mobile banking, e-medical and psychological care have been helping us to live normally when our movements are restricted in the course of  the lockdown.

This makes me ponder that the internet is controlling us or we have a choice to escape from it, as by this time education, health , transport, banking, commerce , entertainment , professional to personal, internet has been widely covering all the sectors .

With a higher portion of the world’s population socially distancing or living under quarantine conditions, technology has been helping us to work, shop and communicate. As said by Narges Obaid, “Don’t trust everything you see, even salt looks like sugar!”  On some ground the internet has its own flaws such as cyber crime, theft ,destruction and damage of datas, reveal of confidential information, hacking and other security issues which cannot be neglected.

So it’s high-time that we start taking things seriously and evaluate both the pros and cons of the internet. Just to remind you that, one click of yours can ruin your whole life without even you realizing it.

Take some time and think of the internet, whether it’s the necessity of the time or is it just for your luxury ? However, we must not forget its access as one of human rights. Thus, it is necessary for all of us to  understand the uses, significance and drawbacks of accessing the internet realizing its effect on our daily lives as our choice or compulsion .

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