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The Internet Increases Social Isolation Essay

1286 words - 5 pages

Inside the majority of American households rest the unlimited territory of the internet. The unlimited and always advancing possibilities have unlocked powerful new tools in communication and socialization. Tools such as: long distance visual communication, international circulation of personal thoughts, and massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG) have all led to a closer but more distant community of people. The positive side can attribute to the fact that the younger generation seems more in tune with their international counterparts. Youth have the ability to anonymously communicate with others through various message boards, mostly governed by one policy, freedom of speech. The anonymity of the internet has created a community where social outcasts mingle freely with others; a society where jocks can converse with geeks without fear of reprisal. This community releases people from the bounds of their own flesh. Yet, technological advances have pushed society into the next dimension of communication and socialization that seemingly override traditional and more personal vessels of communication.
The internet, initially developed by researchers at MIT and UCLA, had first purposes as a communications system between participating Universities. Walt Howe, Director of Libraries at Babson College, explains that the use of the system was limited to engineers, scientists, and those with the complex knowledge of computer operating systems. Because of the complexity involved many attempted to create a more user efficient system, one that home users could adopt. The most modern and user friendly system was pioneered around 1991 at University of Minnesota as a tool to access files and information locally stored. The ease of access prompted other universities to follow suite and create users friendly interfaces that interconnected their local campus’ resources with others. The internet’s humble beginnings have spawned the modern internet people know and use today. But, people spend increasing more hours every day their own online lives and letting their physical lives fade away. Increased online networking diminishes crybernauts’ ability to socialize in a face-to-face environment by decreasing physical confidence and increasing isolation.
Some say, decreased confidence does not exist on the internet; users create fictional personas that shield their true identity to promote anonymity. This anonymous behavior can factor into why many people socialize online instead of in the physical world. Sonia Maasik and Jack Solomon, professors of Composition and English at UCLA and CSUN, state, “the fact that we can control exactly what information we present to others while online offers us a freedom… to be whatever we want to be with others” (427). The freedom offered by the internet allows users to start from scratch and construct a persona that raises their confidence. The confidence gained allows users do almost...

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