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That the internet has a damaging impact on society

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4 points
E271E271 (PRO)
“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learnt in school.” – Albert Einstein.

With this in mind, I believe the internet is becoming increasingly detrimental to society in many ways; physically, mentally and socially.

Firstly, the internet is an incredibly addictive resource which people can become heavily reliant on, at the expense of developing new skills and interests. For example, websites such as reddit or youtube can be used by many in society as a default during boredom, which they may quickly begin relying on as an alternative to sports, socialisation and other more varied activities. Due to overdependence, these tools are likely to lead to boredom in the people using it, when overdone. However, paradoxically they have adapted to solving boredom with the internet, which now causes them boredom, and thus creating a hugely destructive cycle in which the internet users are deprived of fun experiences they could otherwise have been doing, by being unable to escape the cycle of internet dependence. This can be clearly seen in practice, for example people bragging to have spent 2000 hours on­ one game. This also completely halts productivity, as these thing by their very nature cannot exceed the complexity they were designed at, making it unreasonable to develop new ideas while using these internet services. This is a hugely major issue, as it has escalated procrastination enormously which can reduce pass rates in schools and universities, as well as destroy student’s confidence, interest and involvement in the courses they enjoyed. This is clearly shown by statistics, as the percentage of population admitting to being chronic procrastinators has risen to 26% since 2007, a huge increase compared to the 5% in 1978. What has changed? The internet.

Additionally, people are stationary while using the internet. With societies huge reliance on the internet, the extended periods of immobility caused by this heavily contributes to the (first) worlds rapidly increasing levels of obesity, which greatly reduces the quality of life for the overweight people and those that care for them. It also can cause significant increases in medical illnesses, which cost the sufferer time, happiness and potentially their life, as well as costing taxpayers large amounts in increased hospital requirements to treat the unhealthily overweight. This could often be fixed with more activity as a replacement for internet dependence.

Finally, one of the largest problems, in my opinion, is how destructive it is to peoples individuality and ability to create their own opinion, due to the massive amount of social pressure on the internet to adapt to conformities usually manipulated by large companies to their personal gain, as well as the inhibition of true learning caused by the ability to simply ‘look up,’ information in too short of a time frame to learn it. Consequently, people do not learn and recall facts which may be useful in creating an informed opinion for numerous problems, and instead simply accept the information fed through internet sources, which is very often misleading, significantly incomplete or even false. Additionally, the large dependence on the internet creates a perfect opportunity for people to exploit the illusory truth effect, a strategy used my many manipulative figures in the past including Roman Cato, who used this effect to encourage war on Carthage. This greatly hinders people’s confidence in expressing new ideas, especially when in conflict with the already established ideas people are pressured into accepting without reasoning. It is also often significantly harder to gain all perspectives, as less popular opinions can be easily suppressed and hidden...

Return To Top | Posted:
2018-01-20 12:31:34
| Speak Round
tommytomtomtomtommytomtomtom (CON)
I agree completely with your argument that internet addiction is damaging to people in many ways. I would concede that the internet itself may be inherently addictive, but only to a point. We know that addiction emerges from a variety of factors and that the focus of the addiction is by no means a deciding factor. For instance we all go shopping, like a drink, have smoked a cigarette and yet only a minority of people become addicted to these things; indeed anything can become addictive which highlights the insignificance of the focus of the addiction (alcohol, internet use, for example). 

Though I concede that there exists a negative impact on those addicted to the internet, I would argue that this only effects a portion of the population and that the remaining people actually benefit from internet access. I would also argue that those who are addicted have other issues which led to their addiction; issues which would manifest in other ways without internet access. So the internet is merely a conduit and not the root of the problem, so swapping it for something else (removing the internet from society) may not be necessarily less harmful, for they may turn to drugs or other more harmful addictions. 

The last paragraph I have a problem with. Although I may agree with the points you have made about the corruption on the internet and its role in forming opinions; I would say that its the best system humanity has ever come up with. So although I accept the flaws you have highlighted, I still agree that it has a positive effect overall in comparison to the alternative. As I previously stated, the alternative is T.V ; this means a handful of super-rich media companies making stupid T.V for the masses for maximum profit, also exclusivity. The internet however is free for anybody, anywhere, anytime to say anything. Do you trust a handful of rich corporations? or the people? 

Return To Top | Posted:
2018-01-20 14:55:17
| Speak Round

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The internet has allowed for cross-cultivation of information on a scale unseen before. Also the internet allows for anyone to have acess to any information-this is revolutionary and is why the baby-boomer generation are so naive and obedient to the government authority compared with the millennials. The new generation can learn about all kinds of things that are counter to popular culture and the establishment, whilst before the internet the government and big media had full control over peoples viewing material; this is an unacceptable level of influence for any one body, even an elected one.
Posted 2018-01-20 10:55:52
The judging period on this debate is over

Previous Judgments

2018-01-30 02:07:31
nzlockieJudge: nzlockie    TOP JUDGE
Win awarded to: E271
The resolution called for Pro to show that the internet has a damaging impact on society, a point that Con conceded in their opening paragraph.
Con seemed to want to argue the SIZE of the impact, he may have won this point but it doesn’t matter. The Res dictated any damaging effect and he didn’t redefine that, so it stands.

PRO: You really need to work on your sentence structure. Your first round came across like a free form stream of consciousness from your head. It was really hard to follow.
You started strongly by saying that the internet negatively impacted us in three ways. Good. Now link back to those three ways so I know which one you’re talking about. It would also help you listed the arguments in the same order you listed these impacts.

CON: for this judge you were underdone by a failure to define the resolution as the internet has a NET detrimental effect on society.
You probably still would have won had you contested, or even thrown doubt on, Pro’s negative effects, but you conceded them.
Your sentence structure was good, should have continued the debate.
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2018-02-07 05:10:57
jgestiotJudge: jgestiot
Win awarded to: tommytomtomtom
The debate was "That the internet has a damaging impact on society". It is important to understand that the proposition means an overall damaging impact on society. This immediately means that the pro side has to demonstrate that overall, the internet is damaging to society and he has not done so. Any man-made invention has a negative side but if it is clearly outweigh by the positive side then it is difficult to argue the case. The con side conceded that the internet is not perfect but made the winning point that overall it is one of the best systems ever created by mankind.

PRO: your attempt to mount an argument around physical, mental and societal damage was weak and unproven. Once again, it is not because you can identify some negatives that overall, the internet is negative. Surgery is performed over the internet to save lives, mental health is treated over the internet and society functions a lot better through the internet as evidenced by the millions of forms that are filled in online and save paper, including entire forests. Government agencies provide onlines services which massively reduce the wait time for the people who need to access them. Families can keep in touch even if far away and exchange photos and comments on a daily basis. CON: you did not provide enough material to make the point as I did above by stating some of the benefits of the internet to mankind. A bit more work would have made your win clearer. In my view, you won because your side could hardly be lost.
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2 comments on this judgement
Con never conceded the point. You need to read his statement again.
Posted 2018-02-07 05:12:39
Hi jgestiot, could you please clarify your final comment to CON: " ... you won because your side could hardly be lost."
Posted 2018-02-09 17:50:29
2018-02-09 02:57:19
MharmanJudge: Mharman    TOP JUDGE
Win awarded to: E271
2018-02-11 05:18:17
adminJudge: admin    TOP JUDGE
Win awarded to: E271
Con's analysis was that the internet was beneficial on the grounds it was decentralised. He conceded that otherwise, on all points, pro won this debate. He concluded his case by begging the question on why central media control is harmful. Instead, the onus was on con to demonstrate why media control was harmful, why television was inherently controlled by few companies, and so on. I didn't really follow why a freer media was good, and the point wasn't hammered home in as much detail as pro's points were. Pro had the burden of proof. Pro talked about specific mental and physical harms with statistics and anecdotes to back them up. In the end I felt that pro had shown some negative impact (even if I could accept these were minor), and con had not sufficiently demonstrated a positive impact.

Well done to both debaters. I liked how you used structure in your paragraphs and signposts to make the debate clearer and easy to follow. With more practice this will come more naturally. I also really liked to see some clash from con, and a tiny bit of stakeholder analysis from pro, but there needed to be more. For example, it is not enough to say that productivity is being reduced - you also should explain why that's bad. How does it affect companies, families etc? Heck, tell me about how lazier conservation efforts ramp up climate change and cause us to flee to Mars. Narrative wins debates. Same with you, con. Tell me why freedom is great. Because of the internet I can find more steakhouses than ever before, not just the ones TV execs like. So perhaps I can find an option more suited to my budget or something. Just tell me why the internet is cool, like, super directly. It is a shame this debate concluded prematurely - this works in con's favor here, but both sides would have had interesting rebuttals to follow for sure. Hope this all makes sense and please hit me up if you have questions or anything :)
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2018-02-16 19:17:59
Jaco LemleJudge: Jaco Lemle
Win awarded to: E271
Like previous judges have commented upon, the resolution is framed in a way that it is asking if there is any damaging impact on society, and as such pro is burdened to show that there is some damaging impact, it is not contingent that there is more bad then good for pro to win, only that there is some bad, which pro proves and then Con concedes. Once Con concedes there is really no other choice then to vote pro.
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2018-02-18 21:28:05
Natalia VasilevaJudge: Natalia Vasileva
Win awarded to: E271

In my opinion, PRO won the debate with 3 valid arguments (adiction, obesity, influencing opinions) vs CON 1.5 arguments. Though, I agree with nzlockie comment on structure problems.
CON adresses internet influencing people opinions argument, saying that it’s a better alternative to the TV. He also adressed addiction argument saying that few people become addicted, but others benefit. I really lack deaper explanation here on how they benefit. He says nothing on obesity argument and doesn’t have any other arguments of his own. In my opinion, CON could have won more focusing on explaining his own points on why internet could be good for us.
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