Born in the late 20th century, the Internet’s influence undeniably caused the rapid advancement of a new era that of which is ours today. It assisted with the significant shift of technologies based on industrialization to that of information. The influence of the Internet has changed daily life around the world, making it one of the most important modern inventions, and some even proclaim it the greatest of our time. Not to mention, that its development is continuous, making it increasingly relevant. Its initial intention of sharing information, as it was, a means to change society for the better. Additionally, the Internet advanced the social nature of humankind, in a manner unimaginable one hundred years ago. As the Internet is virtually universal, it has impacted various aspects of human life, regarding topics such as protest, work, and healthcare.
The Internet has also influenced how people acquire information about healthcare, which is advantageous to an extent. In the United States, usage of the Internet for health-related purposes has risen from sixty-one percent in 2009 to eighty percent in 2015. It can enhance patients’ understanding of their medical circumstances, potentially leading to more sufficient management of one’s health. This potential of the Internet is generally supported by physicians as well. A study held during June 2015 had questioned 234 people and defined that about eleven percent of patients go to their physician initially, while 48.6% search their symptoms online first, and although the foremost is more trustworthy, this outcome is most likely because of the accessibility, availability, and immediacy of the Internet. When additionally considered that the Internet does not negatively affect the relationship of concordance and compliance between patients and physicians, it is recommended that patients search for both quality physicians and Internet resources.
Conversely, the Internet serves an increasingly important function within the healthcare industry, as it is used for various objectives, such as electronic record-keeping and telehealth, which is the long-distance communication between patients and experts. Strategic IT application regards internal integration which is the degree to which systems and technologies are incorporated within an organization and external integration which is the degree to which systems and technologies interface with outside organizations and agency computer systems (Raghupathi and Tan). Some examples of such technologies and systems are computerized patient record (CPR) systems, document management systems, data warehouses, and intranets. As a result, they enhance the internal workings of healthcare organizations. Specifically, it diminishes data redundancy and inconsistency.
One instance was in 1995 when the West Palm Beach Veteran’s Administration Medical Center had begun to transfer all medical records and affiliated paperwork to roughly 200 clinical and 1,000 administrative electronic forms available through computers which were then accessible from screening rooms and nursing stations. This system consequently allowed for a significant decrease in its physical file storage expenses. Briefly, the Internet provides a positive impact on the healthcare industry. Not only does it allow for a more universal way for patients to learn about themselves and their symptoms and/or conditions, but information technology affects the means of which modern healthcare establishments are organized.
As stated by George W. Bush in 1999, “Imagine if the Internet took hold in China. Imagine how freedom would spread”. It was rightfully predicted that China’s adoption of the Internet among the economic and political change of the 1990s and early 2000s would have a drastic social impact. This is further prevalent when considered that currently, China is the leading country in Internet users. This also allows citizens to hold further opportunities to voice their opinions on varying issues, even those of which contrast those of the government although to a limited extent. With that being said, the Internet allows a higher possibility for the broadcasting of information when authorities decide not to and protest when otherwise unable to. This is further prevalent in Beijing, as it has a more advanced Internet culture and more extended Internet population compared to other Chinese cities. One case of which the residents of Beijing had used this aspect of their city concerned the rape and murder of first-year Beijing University student Qiu Qingfeng on the twentieth of May 2000. After learning about the incident, authorities of the universities had held an emergency meeting, ultimately holding the news from the public. Their motive for this surrounded the nearing eleventh anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, of which students, intellectuals, and labor activists had led demonstrations against the communist government. Students had first posted news regarding the occurrence two days later on Beijing University’s ‘Triangle’ BBS forum, extending to others across China. Discussions among forums enunciated that the university should be held accountable, and as a result, compensate the victim’s parents, increase security measures of the campus, and show more respect and care for students so such an incident could never happen again. Consequently, memorial services were held to mourn Qingfeng’s passing. Student demonstrations were similarly held, defying a general ban on public protests. Although posts containing the character ‘Beida’ which was used to refer to Beijing University were blocked, these filters were also defied, as users began to insert punctuation or numbers between the two characters that spell it. “On the 22nd, the news began to circulate on the BBSs of Beijing University and Qinghua University….the students in these two universities, with the online support of students from other universities, decided to hold memorial services for their school-mate. This was in order to break through the deliberate control of information and suppression of memorial activities by the authorities. The information circulated on the Internet indicates that similar cases have happened in other universities, but have almost all been covered up. It may be believed that if it had not been for the Internet, and if it had not been because of the students’ indignation, this case would also have been covered up” (‘TriangleForum’, 27 May 2000, cross-posted in Netease.com on 29 May 2000). In short, the Internet was used for protest against brutality and as a medium of a struggle for constitutional rights as the fight for free speech in China transmitted into the Internet.
The Internet and the World Wide Web has also allowed for new job opportunities around the globe. Specifically, with its extensive impact on how people communicate, it influences how people are employed as well since there are millions of job employment websites. In one specific situation, it assisted with job-seeking and recruitment in South Africa, a country that has had a reputation for high unemployment. This aspect is still prevalent today, as South Africa has an unemployment rate of 29% as of 2019, compared to the low global statistic of 3.6%. There have been many quality recruitment websites in South Africa, expanding the number of advertised jobs as more people look for employment. For example, between January 2005 and January 2006, CareerJunction, a popular employment website in South Africa, had a 60% increase in advertised jobs, as there was a 44% increase in people searching for jobs. The far-reaching inclusivity of the Internet exceeds that of the longer applied newspaper, employing higher advantages such as low costs for advertisements, faster replies, links to other important information, and possible video-conferencing. However, it does not mean that newspapers and other related media have become obsolete, for the Internet is logically not a panacea.
A 2006 survey regarding real job positions in Cape Town, was held in the form of a telephonic interview. It used questions from both newspapers and websites which are used for recruitment most often. People applied for at least 16 positions including that of software development, system engineering, sales and other professions of information technology, answering questions with the same wording as popular local Cape Town newspapers and a popular South African Internet job site. Initially, it was also discovered that all applicants use the Internet every day, although only about 40% had access to it at home. Despite this, there was a roughly balanced split between those who have seen the advertisements in the newspaper or those who saw it online. This variable of the survey befitted the study’s purpose as it aimed to show how certain factors and demographics influence the adoption of the World Wide Web for job-seeking. For example, respondents in other parts of South Africa had mostly used it for job-seeking, while residents of Cape Town relied more on newspapers at the time. Therefore, if there is a lack of needed skills, then the Internet can be used to attract people outside of the area, something that is more difficult to do with printed media. Comprehensively, the Internet has been widely adopted for employment, due to its informational and communicative properties, as newspapers have, although more inclusive and faster. However, when both methods are consolidated, it has the potential to positively affect employment methods and, in consequence, the unemployment rate.
It is argued that the Internet has the potential to be exploited. The rapid expanse of it and its influence can significantly affect its users. Inevitably, it can expose users to inappropriate material and misleading ideas such as propaganda, deceit, and discriminatory beliefs. These issues emerge in the Internet’s social networks, which are meant to harmonize with the previously mentioned social nature of humans. Specifically, the more notable issues that arise within the Internet, include scamming, addiction, and various forms of mistreatment toward others, such as cyberbullying, cyber-racism, etc. This is true, however, such undesirable outcomes can be brought to attention and then regulated. Some regulations on the Internet in Florida include offenses of misdemeanor and felonies against stalking, fraud, the transmission of pornography, harassment, and bullying. Although there is a vast amount of regulations, like the ones mentioned prior, it should also be the obligation of users to be responsible in using the Internet as to not hinder one’s or others well-being. This includes being informed of possible consequences if an individual were to not adhere to these regulations as well as being reasonably cautious of the Internet’s enormity. Like all things, that the usage of the Internet should be in balance with other aspects of daily life, as too much of anything can become detrimental.
In essence, the Internet has greatly impacted the world in numerous manners. It positively impacts the advancement and accomplishment of humankind in various domains, including that of protesting for civil rights, a change in employment and matters of health. By attracting the social instinct of humans, it allowed for a new era to be born, named the Information Age. The prominence of the Internet is continuously increasing, so it is speculated how it will be like in the future. Will today’s Internet become fully dated? Or will it become completely accessible in a century or so? Nonetheless, it is undeniable that the Internet has truly shaped the society we live in today, to the point that life as we know it would have not been otherwise.