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“Internet takeover – the best thing ever?”
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“Internet takeover – the best thing ever?”

Janine WanIn a few short years the Internet has made its way into everything from news to shopping, writes Janine Wan, 15, a Correspondent based in Melbourne, Australia, and with that has changed social interaction and entertainment.

The first website I ever went onto was Club Penguin. Even at a young age I thought it was amazing that a website allowed me to be the one thing I really wanted at that time- a penguin.

In similar ways, the Internet has evolved to allow people to achieve what they have needed or desired. The Internet’s popularity and influence grows daily, especially with the introduction of mobile technology.

Journalism has been deeply impacted by the Internet. In the recent years, traditional newspapers have been growing less and less popular as the online media takes over. Showing how far the print industry has fallen, a mere 17 per cent said they read news in a national newspaper in the USA. Newspapers are disappearing from the newsstands, and an increasing number of newspapers are going digital.

When online, articles can be commented on, saved for later, and are often accompanied by slide shows, videos, animations and infographics. The news is fresh and instant, coming in by the hour instead of by the day. Even hallowed publications such as The Guardian and The New York Times have gone digital and have seen drops in their physical circulation. News sites such as forbes.com have real time updates, with categories to scroll through so that you don’t have to search for something that you want to read. Sites such as yourcommonwealth.org and theunderage.com.au provide opportunities for young amateur journalists to contribute their opinions and articles to the world of news and new media.

Journalism isn’t the only form of media that has experienced a huge makeover because of the Internet. Television can now be accessed and streamed online, with the existence of sites such as Netflix and worldtvpc.com. Netflix is a subscription-based movie and television show rental service that offers media to subscribers via Internet video streaming. Television channels such as ABC even offer episodes of some shows online.

Knowledge resources have also moved online. “Google it!” has become a common phrase used when something needs to be found out. Dictionary.com is the go-to place when there’s an English assignment with words that need to be defined. People either turn to sites like Wikihow or find tutorial videos on Youtube to find out how to do tasks.

The Internet has definitely made our lives easier. With the existence of online shopping, there is no longer a need to go to stores. The introduction of websites such as Paypal and Google Wallet has brought stores like H&M Online, and blogshops. One can even do their grocery shopping online!

The Internet even has the ability to fulfill the need for human contact. Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter allow for interaction with friends and acquaintances without the physical aspect. They allow you to reconnect with people whom you have not been in contact with for extended periods of time, and keep in contact with friends who have moved away.

In addition to this, online societies such as the Nerdfighters now exist. The Nerdfighters are a community formed around the Youtubers John and Hank Green, and has since become a place where nerds and young intellectuals can find acceptance. As a member of the Nerdfighters, I have made online friends who live in far more countries than I have ever travelled. Since moving to Melbourne earlier this year, I have been to one Nerdfighter gathering and watched them play Quidditch, a game adapted from JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series. The ability to meet such tight-knit real-life friends online is simply amazing.

With our world becoming increasingly digital, it is not hard to see the large impact the Internet has had on our world. However, some people argue that not everything about the Internet is fantastic. The Internet poses an immense threat to one’s data, with spywares and hacking software making credit card fraud a common occurrence nowadays. Pornography is also becoming more readily available, being exposed to young children and teenagers when they surf the net. Computer addiction is also becoming common, with people choosing to spend all their time immersed in the virtual world of gaming.

Still, I believe that the pros outweigh the cons, and that the Internet is the best thing to have ever been invented (other than pizza).

photo credit: alles-schlumpf via photopin cc

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About me: I am a 15-year-old student in Melbourne, but have been brought up in both America and Singapore. I love to read, to write and to eat pizza. I also love tinkering with gadgets, though I’m not very good at that. My superpower of choice would be enhanced intelligence, so I could do and build things to defy the constraint of time and space. I do my best writing while procrastinating, which I do rather often.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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