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That the internet has a damaging impact on society

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miavvmiavv (PRO)
Respected Members of the edeb8.com,In w
   The nostalgia for the times long past has always been - and will continue to be - a common theme in the passing generations. "In our time, it was so and so." ; "We didn't have this particular thing seems necessary to your generation." are among the number of phrases the older generations diminish the ways of today's youth and glorify their own prime years. It is understandable. However, it is most certainly not the cause of the PRO side's dismissal of internet as a mostly beneficial factor in today's society.

To help define the motion, this house believes that the effect that the internet has had on the society in the way it has been used thus far had been more negative than positive.

The internet relies on the sheer availability. Of ideas and of people.

1. The availability of information - the negative side of having information at your fingertips
  • False information spreads falsehoods that can have a negative impact on an individual and the community alike.
Through its vast network of unsupervised articles, photo-shopped pictures and fake studies only a click away, internet has become the quickest and most effective way of spreading fibs and fabrications to the detriment of others. Be it an intentional lie or a lie created with no ill will at first, it can become twisted and used to harm others. These untruths can become commonly believed easily if the right amount of people jumps on the wagon, as they have a habit of doing. We have seen this numerous times in today's culture: people faking a post and accusing someone of wrongdoing, causing others to send hate, threats and even reveal private information of the person. Their punishment is usually much greater than their perceived crime. On the other hand, we have witnessed global impacts of spreading fake information  as a means of propaganda. T American election of 2016 is one such instance, where 'fake news' were widely shared and used to either change person's beliefs, confuse them and possibly turn them off politics. And they had did. (https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2958246)

  • Even with information that is correct, the easiness with which access it is damaging to the person.
In the time before it was possible to save contacts on your phone, people used to look them up in phone books and remember them for convenience. Gradually, as the need subsided, the phone numbers became forgotten. The ability to find the contact on your phone can be compared to the ability to find information via internet; only what was then only phone numbers now is the near entirety of knowledge possessed by humans. As we no longer have the need to remember things - we can just look them up - our memory and ability to remember is lessened.(http://science.sciencemag.org/content/early/2011/07/13/science.1207745#aff-2) This is damaging as it is well known that the working of your brain in its old age is ensured by the studying you do in early years. 

  • The idea that a person should be all-knowing about everything that is going on in the world at the moment as a requirement to be considered intelligent and "woke" is damaging.
Oscar Wild said it best :"The thoroughly well-informed man — that is the modern ideal. And the mind of the thoroughly well-informed man is a dreadful thing. It is like a bric-a-brac shop, all monsters and dust, with everything priced above its proper value." There is a certain societal pressure to be always online, always connected, always tuned in to the internet as if not to miss anything. Things certainly are loosing their value when they are just being accumulated like trinkets in the attic. We are always bombarded with information, be it on social media or just browsing the web. It is exhausting as well - the constant stream of information, with the intensity and speed it is being presented with, evidently does little to educate and much to disturb us.

Return To Top | Posted:
2018-09-06 19:17:54
| Speak Round
GuitarKirbyGuitarKirby (CON)
For the purpose of making my debates more accessible for judges and audience members, and as a courtesy to the opponent, my format will be as follows.
Important points will be bold.
Summaries from sources/paraphrases will be italicized.
Direct quotations will be "quoted."
Citations will be available at the bottom under a horizontal rule, and will be marked throughout my arguments using hyperlinks and superscripts0.

     Well, an interesting opening statement from the Pro side of the argument. I never thought I would see someone suggest that having access to more information was a bad thing, but I suppose there's a first time for everything. I'll break down my opponent's argument point by point.

     1) False information is bad because it's false!
     Not to point out the obvious, but yes, Con agrees that false information is bad, and we will even agree that there is a great deal of false information available online. However, we would also like to point out that there are an enormous amount of resources devoted specifically to sorting through information, and separating the false from the factual. Noteworthy examples are Snopes and PolitiFact, but there are many others available for those who take the time to look.

     2) Devices make us lazy!
     Indeed, as technology marches on, we often see that previous necessities fall by the wayside. Blaming the internet for the things listed here is a bit of a stretch, however. Remembering phone numbers went out when the PDA was invented, and that technology was brought in with smartphones. Like my opponent, I'd like to draw an analogy. In courtroom scenarios, eyewitness testimony is put on a high pedestal, and is arguably the most important piece of evidence used in courtrooms. But that's a problem, according to two professors at Stanford University, who came to the conclusion that human memory can't be trusted in important circumstances1. If it's true that our memory can't be trusted in the first place, isn't it a good thing that we now have access to accurate information if we only take the time to look for it in an absolute instant?

     3) We shouldn't expect people to be accurate!
     At least, that's what I could glean from the final bullet point listed here. We shouldn't expect people to be knowledgeable when they talk about issues? I hope Pro intends to expand on this later, because it was entirely unthinkable to Con. Perhaps Pro takes issue with the idea of live fact checks, such as the one performed during the State of the Union address given by Donald Trump. During said speech, live facts from the previously mentioned PolitiFact were made available to the audience, giving people instant access to the reality of claims made during that speech2.

     At the end of the day, access to the internet, along with powerful access to information and applications that are useful to us on a day-to-day basis, cannot be contested as anything other than a boon to people.

     I've run out of room here, so my next portion will focus entirely on the positives of internet access for all, rather than reactions to my opponent's statements. Thanks to the Judges, the Audience, and my Opponent for their patience.

1. Fisher; Tversky. The Problem with Eyewitness Testimony. Standford Journal of Legal Studies. Webpage. (https://agora.stanford.edu/sjls/Issue%20One/fisher&tversky.htm)
2. Adair, Bill. An Experiment in Live Fact-Checking the State of the Union Speech by Trump. Mediashift. Weppage. (http://mediashift.org/2018/02/an-experiment-in-live-fact-checking-the-state-of-the-union/)

Return To Top | Posted:
2018-09-08 01:55:57
| Speak Round

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