There is much discussion surrounding the Internet, especially when it comes to how much time we spend online and how dependent we are on it.
One of the studies conducted on this topic in 2021 shows that the average person spends 23 hours a week, i.e., almost a whole day surfing the Internet, sending emails, and scrolling through social networks.
Even though society in the modern world dramatically benefits from the use of the Internet, especially when it comes to saving time and resources, the enormous amount of time we spend online also has negative consequences that are often overlooked.
The Internet has both positive and negative impacts, but in this post, we will focus on the negative effects.
Some of the harmful effects of Internet use refer to Internet addiction, fraud, cyber scams, social isolation, misinformation, and low self-esteem.
However, many of these consequences can easily be prevented if we educate ourselves on them and become aware of them in time.
Here is a list of 10 bad things you might not know about the Internet:
- The Internet can be time-consuming and distracting
- The Internet can couse addiction
- Extensive Internet usage can make us feel lonely
- The Internet can have bad effects on our mental health
- Misinformation is widespread on the Internet
- Fraud and cyber scams are common
- Internet may affect romantic relationships
- Decreased creativity and increased plagiarism
- Fear of missing out (FOMO)
- Negative impact on cognitive behavior
1. The internet can be time-consuming and distracting
Even though the internet can be an excellent source of information, it can also be distracting and time-consuming.
So, how much internet is too much internet?
How many times have you started something but put it off because social media seemed more exciting? When was the last time you sat down to do something only to be interrupted by a notification on your phone? Or have you noticed that reading a longer article takes a lot of time to focus on?
Due to the internet and smart devices, people often have trouble focusing on a task or even motivating themselves to start one.
The constant distraction caused by our smart devices leads to a lack of focus and concentration, resulting in less efficient execution of tasks.
Studies have shown that people feel compelled to check their phones even if they have not received a message or are busy. With the advent of the mobile internet, the state of being constantly on alert seems to be deepening since we are constantly available to everyone.
When it comes to functioning more easily, Internet access and the network of internet-connected devices are essential.
However, if we want to decrease the negative effects technology has on our ability to concentrate and focus, we must put boundaries in place and turn off the wi-fi, at least while we work.
2. The Internet can cause addiction
Internet and technology addiction is real.
An article written on clinicbarcelona.org explains that people who suffer from Internet addiction have similar symptoms to those who suffer from drug or gambling addiction.
In addition, Internet addiction results from a combination of factors rather than a single element, some of which result from our personalities.
Shy individuals, for example, may have a higher tendency to become addicted to the Internet and social media since those are the means through which they can easily connect and form relationships even with their family members.
Studies have also found that the levels of dopamine and serotonin transmitters of people addicted to the Internet are lower than the general population. With the use of the Internet, or more precisely social media, users receive a rewarding feeling every time they refresh their news feed which makes them come back for more.
3. Extensive Internet usage can make us feel lonely
Though many people are using the Internet for entertainment and communication, extensive Internet usage can also cause social isolation, leading to feeling lonely and depressed.
Namely, the more people are occupied with their smart devices, the more they neglect social interaction, which is a basic human need.
A study published in the Journal of Ageing and Society in 2020 that examined more than 4000 respondents from different age groups found that people who used the Internet every day were more likely to be socially isolated than those who used the Internet less frequently.
An interesting finding of this study is that the researchers believe that older respondents who said they use the Internet less often maintain a better balance between online and offline activities.
The study also does not rule out the possibility that lonely or isolated people are spending more time online to deal with the situation. However, it is also possible that social isolation may occur due to reduced live social relations at the expense of Internet use.
Similar negative effects experience people who play online games. Individuals who spend a lot of time playing online games are also more likely to experience social isolation. Online games can cause addiction and make people choose to spend more time in front of a screen than interacting with others in real life.
Although social relationships depend on many factors, including personality, nurturing them in person instead of online can contribute to satisfaction and a higher level of happiness.
4. The Internet can have a bad effect on our mental health
The Internet can have a negative impact on many aspects of our life that are related to the quality of our mental health.
Namely, the use of the Internet is often associated with increased anxiety due to constant exposure to negative information. Furthermore, many people use the Internet as a trusted source to find information related to specific symptoms or physical discomfort they are experiencing, which can further cause feelings of fear and anxiety.
Constant and excessive Internet usage can also lead to sleep deprivation, which can negatively impact a person’s physical health.
Moreover, the Internet can also negatively affect the formation and nurturing of interpersonal relationships in our lives, causing us to feel lonely and isolated.
The last point is social media, where photos are constantly posted that make users feel insecure about their appearance. Content is shared that sets unrealistic standards of beauty and mainly damages the fragile self-esteem of teenagers.
5. Misinformation is widespread on the Internet
Fake news and misinformation are common on the Internet.
There are hundreds of millions of people googling from their mobile phones and searching for news every day, which is reason enough for many to start writing news and making money from it, even if it is fake.
False news can seriously harm the entire Earth.
The fake news of Bill Gates’ use of the Covid-19 vaccine to chip in the global population is still very popular today, which has caused many people around the world to refuse to receive the vaccine against the virus that killed millions.
The topic of fake news is often delicate and of social importance and can cause significant harm to those who are reading it.
So, to avoid misinformation, readers should be cautious about where and what news they read, think critically, and verify the information presented in news reports.
6. Online fraud and cyber scams are common
We are now well aware of how to use the internet safely to avoid falling into the trap of online cheaters.
However, internet attacks are becoming more common and sophisticated, and almost anyone can become a victim of online fraud.
Many older users fall victim to these scams since they aren’t aware of how money can be extorted from them or become targets of cyberattacks.
A more sophisticated and advanced version of the Nigerian prince scam is still active today, and scammers are still trying to scam people by sending well-crafted and hard-to-spot fake emails. Emails like these aim to collect personal information that can be sold on hacker forums or the dark web besides getting money.
This means that anyone who is not well informed about these cyberattacks and not using any kind of internet security can easily be lured into these traps and suffer financial damage as a result. Also, hackers hack government websites around the world, meaning that all countries are not immune either.
7. Internet may affect romantic relationships
The Internet sometimes can cause problems in romantic relationships.
One of the many negative effects that the Internet has on relationships is the lack of time for the partner.
We have all found ourselves in a situation where we are glued to our smartphones instead of spending time with our parents.
Behaviors such as these can create feelings of loneliness, irritability, and nervousness and lead to the breakdown of healthy relationships.
Due to the Internet, it is very common for one of the partners to feel jealous. Social networks give us a chance to share public information that can anger the people we are in a relationship with and create a new cause for conflict.
There are many other ways the Internet can negatively affect romantic relationships.
Therefore, users should use caution when sharing personal information online, spend more time with their partners, openly and honestly communicate with each other, and set boundaries on overusing the Internet or online applications.
8. Decreased creativity and increased plagiarism
There is an ongoing debate whether or not the Internet and technology have an impact on creativity.
Regardless of the different viewpoints, the fact remains that many use the Internet for information and content that they later claim to be their own.
Since the Internet is filled with content just a click away, many people seldom bother to search for a solution or create original and creative work.
Therefore, many content creators face plagiarism. Their content is being used without their consent by third parties claiming to be theirs.
9. Fear of missing out (FOMO)
As the name suggests, the fear of missing refers to the feeling caused by the perception that we are missing something. FOMO is a real phenomenon growing steadily over the past few years and is causing stress and anxiety to many.
The fear of missing out is often associated with social media platforms, where the shared content can make users feel left out or like they are missing out on many enjoyable activities.
Additionally, FOMO is used as a tactic in many marketing campaigns to cause fear among customers and thus make them buy a specific product or service.
10. Negative impact on cognitive behavior
According to research from European Parliamentary Research Service, the extensive use of the Internet can have a negative impact on kids’ cognitive behavior.
According to the research, using the Internet excessively impairs cognition, memory, analytical thinking, curiosity, and reading. Thus, human beings become cognitively lazy and superficial thinkers.
How to protect yourself from the negative effects of the Internet
1. Take time for a digital detoxification
When you notice that the Internet is affecting your focus or feel like you cannot live without your mobile device, it is time for a digital detoxification.
- Try to focus on offline activities or limit your phone usage.
- Concentrate on fulfilling small tasks around the house, such as cleaning or going for a walk.
- Read a book or try to learn a new skill.
2. Learn more about the latest cyberattacks and scams
Along with scams like the hacking attacks, many influencers try to quickly make large sums of money by selling sketchy services, cryptocurrencies, and Ponzi schemes.
- Educate yourself before investing your money in any business.
- Do not click on suspicious links from unverified websites.
- Learn how to recognize phishing scams and malware attacks.
3. Spend more time with people in the offline world
True friends and functional families are always there to support us when we lack enough assistance in our daily lives. Spending time with them can alleviate this feeling.
In other words, instead of wasting precious time on our phones, we can spend some time talking to our friends and family in person.
- The time spent in the family circle is priceless, and it can make us happier and more confident.
- Spending time with people who care about us can also contribute to the digital detoxification we discussed earlier.
- Family plays a vital role in our social development and how we see the world.
- Human interaction is fundamental and needs to be satisfied.
The good side of the Internet
As a result of the Internet and technology, the world is experiencing a digital transformation that greatly eases everyday life.
- More job opportunities
- News travels very fast
- Information is just one click away
- Every one of us can do almost anything from home without being in a crowd, waiting, or feeling nervous
- Saves money and time
FAQs about the negative effects of the Internet
1. What are some negative things about the Internet?
The Internet can negatively affect our relationships with friends, socially isolate us from others, make us lazy, and thus negatively affect our creativity and make us a target of false news and misinformation.
2. What are the good and bad things about the Internet?
The Internet offers countless opportunities and benefits.
It has recently become a significant source of relevant and legitimate educational and business opportunities compared to formal education across the globe.
The Internet can also negatively affect our mental health by making us feel socially isolated, tempted to check our phones all the time and feel like we miss out on the fun and the exciting activities.
3. What can I do to protect myself from the negative effects?
Informing yourself better on all investment opportunities and potential cyber-attacks, practicing digital detoxification by spending time with loved ones, or focusing on offline activities.
Internet users are exposed to the negative and positive consequences of the Internet.
After all, the Internet was the tool that helped the world face one of the greatest crises in recent history – the coronavirus.
But it was also when due to the overexposure to technology and the need to rely on it, we realized how healthy and refreshing the time spent with loved ones and non-internet related activities are.
When it comes to the Internet, everything that should be used sparingly also applies and makes sense.