internet is better than books
Debate Rounds (3)
Hello Cheese_Brain, I look forward to debating on the topic, and hope I can propose a solid argument.
While we have reached an age of seemingly limitless possibilities with technology, I would agree that access to information has become easier, but yet the Internet has made it more difficult for us to learn.
You argue that the increasing levels of technology with which we are surrounded have continued to make it easier to access this information, and I disagree with this for three reasons. First, the increase in availability of information has reduced our desire to actually absorb any information at all. Why learn how to convert units of measurement when you can Google it? Why memorize simple math functions when you can use the calculator on your smartphone? Why study geography when you can use Google Earth? We no longer feel the need to actually learn and retain the information we have access to, because of our technologies, which has actually decreased the amount of curiosity young people have, and also decreased their desire to access any unnecessary information. Because of this, despite easier access, our amount of access has decreased.
Second, the quality of information available has severely dropped since the days of book, and even of the radio. In our day, I personally can go on any number of sites and claim to be an expert on any subject, and may be believed. With the sheer amount of content, and the anonymity of publishers, there is no way to distinguish between good and bad information, and thus the amount of quality information we can achieve has declined.
Finally, referring again to the volume of information available, information overload actually makes it more difficult to gain any information. When people would come home and turn on the news, they knew they were getting what they needed to know, and would absorb that important information quite easily. Now, when you browse social media, and news aggregating sites, you are constantly bombarded with "important" news on current events all day, but really only a small percentage of what you see is important. With so much rubbish mixed in to the pile of information, our brains can't possible absorb it all, or even begin to accurately pick out what is and isn't important.
Here concludes the premise of my argument, that technology and the Internet have reduced the ease with which we can access information. Best of luck to you, and I look forward to reading you response. Thanks.
I would like to state that the internet is a source of information, that can be used according to an individual's desire. From this I mean that the internet is like a book that contains a lot of information, and the sole purpose of the internet is to supply us with information. It is a person's decision whether to use it, and to make use of it. We research, find out about things, and learn what is necessary. The internet can be helpful to find out about conversion units, or the geography of the earth, or other maths calculation, and the internet gives you access to all that information, so that we can sieve out the information we need. Imagine if the internet did not exit. We are more likely to use books or other sources of information. The internet just makes it all easier, and less time consuming. I also strongly disagree with you statement about the internet causing a decrease in young people's desire to access information. The internet has undoubtedly made young people curious by providing them with videos, documentaries and pictures. Being a 14 year old student, my opinion is that internet is a time conserving savior, through which we can gain unlimited access of information about whatever we are curious about.
I do partially agree with your statement on the unreliability of the internet. It is true that the information on the internet can be inaccurate and opinionated, but if researched properly I think that in spite of being unreliable, internet can provide us with up-to-date data. It offers information on the most recent discoveries and inventions, the latest cars or other products and about the contemporary incidents and happenings all around the world. However once a book is published, any recent findings cannot be added to it. There are always new developments in the field of health, science, technology and politics that the library simply cannot keep up with. Therefore, the internet can provide us with the latest news about our modern day developments and can be dependable only if used properly by checking the sources of a particular website.
Again linking to my previous argument, the internet should be used wisely. I think through practice, we might be able to differentiate the websites that are reliable, and useful to us. Browsing for certain news sites on the internet, is equivalent to watching news on the television. extremely reliable news sites like CNN and BBC have websites, that provide equally useful information.
Moreover, a lot of paper is wasted in the creation of books and magazines. Deforestation, being one of the greatest threats that humans are facing today, is increased by the production of paper in books. A few sheets of paper could be worth one tree. Hence the number of trees is reducing day by day. Obviously, trees are vital for our living as they are the natural producers of food. Deforestation not only causes scarcity of food and other resources, but also results in the rise of the earth"s temperature, causing global warming. In contrast to books, modern technology like mobile phones, computers or tablets does not harm the environment to a very great extent. In the case of computers the energy used is electricity, which is renewable and can be created again and again. The internet is a huge database, and more information can be adjoined into it, very easily. However books are created from sheets of paper, and if the number of books increase, then the level of deforestation can increase correspondingly. To reduce the destruction of the earth"s forests by deforestation, paper should be recycled and not wasted. Instead it is much easier to use the help of modern technology that functions with the help of renewable energy, which does not have a great impact on nature. Therefore modern electronics has made it possible to overcome a huge problem to the environment.
The internet has various other uses too, like currency conversion, translating languages, and also ways to contact people from all around the world. Imagine a world without internet; we wont be having fun debating right now!
Looking forward to your reply,
Hello again, wow a 14 year old student is taking me to school right now, how awesome does that feel, right? Moving on, I would like to say I appreciate this thought provoking debate, and look forward to providing as solid a rebuttal as I can create.
Let me first address a recurring theme in your argument, which is that Internet is a source to be used by individuals in whichever way they please. I completely agree with this, however I would respond with this: the responsibility granted to people by the Internet, to use it in the way they please, does more harm than good. As a broad example, consider the vast difference in traffic to sites that genuinely provide our population with learning opportunities (debate.org, CNN, investopedia, etc.) to the traffic to sites that likely do not add to our learning (social media, reddit, youtube, etc.). While you may think to yourself that these sites I have listed as not valuable to our learning in fact are beneficial, I would counter with the actual uses of these sites being far from educational, despite the theoretical applications they could have to education. This discrepancy in traffic to "good" vs. "bad" sites leads me to believe that people do not use the Internet in a responsible manner, resulting in it being a terribly inefficient method for people to learn and gain information. Sure, at times we get right down to business, but as a fellow student, I know more times than not we spend 5 minutes finding what we were looking for, followed by 60 minutes reading our friends' poorly written opinions.
To address your concern about the environment, as well as the ease of access and increased relevance of the Internet, I would like to discuss the inherent vulnerability that these have brought along. While it is true that storing information online, without ever printing it, does help us access it more readily, as well as keep it an ever changing and (hopefully) up to date body of knowledge, it also opens it up to being destroyed or lost. While to destroy a book, one has to physically obtain that book, the ease with which information on the Internet can be modified or even permanently removed is far beyond that of physical media. As an example, in the accounting firm I have worked for, we do much of our work on our server, and save a majority as soft copies, however at the end of the day, we still file everything physically in a safe location since we simply cannot lose it. This advantage of printed materials is one which I think will persevere over digital, as we will always be vulnerable to the loss of information stored online.
Finally, I can see you have addressed some of the benefits of the Internet in general, namely the communication capabilities. While this is a valid point, I do believe there is at least one other externality you overlooked, and that is the negative impact on users. While the Internet does provide us with all sorts of methods to connect with friends and family, it has also revolutionized the way in which we connect, which many consider to be a bad thing. Consider how texting, instant messaging, and online chat communities have changed how people (specifically younger people) talk. Much of our face to face interaction has been replaced by the Internet, which has lead to decreased social skills, and I would also add decreased exercise. Before the Internet it was unheard of to spend all night, every night sitting in your house playing with friends "virtually", while now this is the norm. Kids no longer get as much physical interaction with peers, which I think we can both agree puts our generation, and those to follow, in a very precarious position.
You'll have to excuse any formatting errors I have made, this is my first debate and I'm not sure as to the method I was supposed to address your concerns in. I hope I have done an adequate job in this stage, but please do feel free to comment on any technicalities I should have followed.
Looking forward to your response!
I would like to state that your argument was very closed-minded, because the good points of the internet were overlooked. Ignoring the facts wont make them go away. As you stated websites can be broadly categorized into 2 types: websites that provide learning opportunities, and the ones that do not add up to our leaning. Well, YouTube cannot be classified as a website that does not add learning, because is does indeed provide us with informative videos, news, documentaries, and even movies that can add to our knowledge. Social media is also very important, as our friends and relatives might not always be next door for us to walk into their house. They might be in another country, or somewhere far away, and it can be very impractical to travel to their place, just to talk to them for a few minutes. For example, I have lived in 4 different countries so far, and I have friends in those countries. The only way i can talk to them is by email, or Skype or Facebook, and they all use the help of internet to function. The world has been a smaller place because of the internet, and I think an individual does not have the right to criticize it, when one uses it himself/ herself.
You also stated that the internet is very inefficient, but i couldn't disagree more. When browsing on the internet for something, you are given access to a wide range of information, fortunately sometimes even much more than you need. The browser should be aware of the websites that he should looks through, and should also be aware of his time limitations (if he has any). And i would like to reiterate, that it is ones desire to use the internet, and most people (like you and me) have decided to use it because it is undoubtedly very helpful.
Storing precious information online, would definitely not be an ideal way to keep it safe. But thankfully, some internet sites come along with proper and secure methods to keep it safe; like the use of passwords and usernames. Preserving everything physically, might not always be safe, as it can be stolen, unlike when it is stored digitally, surrounded by passwords and other security systems.
Moreover, you have stated that "Much of our face to face interaction has been replaced by the internet", when it is the internet that provides us with (2 dimension) face to face interaction, with someone who is very far away. Going outside to meet someone might not always be practical and easy, and the internet has undoubtedly helped us to get over with the difficulties. It has given us the opportunity to communicate with someone who is one the other side of the world, and it has helped us in so many other ways, that it is inappropriate to criticize the internet, by using the internet.
Don't worry, this is my first debate too...I don't know the proper method to debate either. Your's was a very hard argument to go against, but i hope I have managed to provide you with valid points.
Looking forward to your response,
I would like to begin by saying that I don't believe my argument about the use of the Internet was closed-minded at all. I did acknowledge that all websites have potential to be used in good, educational ways. I completely agree that all websites do provide learning opportunities. That being said, my argument was that in reality, this is not how we use the websites. To counter your example, yes Youtube has millions of videos that will provide stimulating thought, and help us gain perspective and learn. However, take a moment and go look at the "trending" tab on Youtube right now, what do you see there? I see a whole lot of videos that will provide a good laugh, but very little genuine knowledge to be gained. I believe this shows that the way in which we are using these sites is more for entertainment than for education, which of course would be fine, since we all need to relax and be entertained at times. The problem I have identified with this is that we spend too much time on these sites, doing unproductive things, which end up detracting from our learning. Bringing this back to the original argument, when reading a book, it's easy to get sucked in and spend hours on end learning, since the distractions aren't there to take your attention away. It is for this reason, along with others to follow, that I argue the Internet is not better than books, when it comes to value added to learning.
Moving on to social media, I once again agree with what you have put forward about the Internet providing us a way to connect with people we normally would not be able to see with ease. Unfortunately, this again is a very small percentage of how social media is actually used, and I will again argue the cons outweigh the pros. First of all, social media has provided our generation with the need for instant communication. It's no longer acceptable to us to have to wait to tell someone something, no matter how mundane it may be. As soon as something happens we feel the need to tell everyone. This has significantly hurt the quality of conversation between youth, as we no longer seek out face to face meetings, where we get to practice things like non-verbal cues. Further to this, I would estimate that 90% of communication via social media is with peers who live within a 10 minute bike ride of each other. So while I see where you are coming from, saying social media connects distant people, it does significantly more harm to people who could easily be communicating in person, by giving them a medium to bypass the need for real interaction.
Further, on the topic of "real" interaction, electronic modes of communication dehumanize people. When talking to someone online, you don't feel the consequences of saying mean and hurtful things to those people, it takes much of the emotional aspect out of the equation. While it is true social media may be opening us up to more communication, the level of our connection is dropping at an alarming rate, which is really hurting our ability to maintain healthy relationships.
To briefly revisit the argument of security, I simply cannot agree with your argument that information stored online is safe. Your perspective is wrong on this, as you are considering the issue on a personal level. While it is true that your own precious content is safe, it is not because you use a username and password. I can promise you there are hundreds of thousands of people who could gain access to your Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, and all other accounts within minutes. You know what it really is that keeps people like you and I safe? It's the fact that no one cares about the stuff we are protecting. No one wants to read my essays, or see the pictures from my latest vacation. If we took a better perspective on this issue, we would see that the information people want is the information that will be valuable to them, and who has that information? Corporations, governments, and large databases. These are the institutions who need to be afraid of storing information digitally, and they are, because they are constantly under attack. I guarantee these organizations do not protect their information with a simple username and password, it's much more complicated than that, and unfortunately hackers are often much more advanced than their systems. For example, look at the hacktivist group "Anonymous" . They have shown on multiple occasions that they have the power to access digital information, which we considered safe. Take this as proof that although physical books can be stolen, information stored online can be stolen too, without even being in the same country.
Finally, I would like to quickly refute your argument that I can't criticize the Internet because I use the Internet. That is equivalent to you saying I cannot dislike the pen I write with because I am writing with it. While I may use the Internet as a tool, I do believe there are better, more efficient ways of communicating, gathering information, and learning. I think I have provided sufficient evidence for those beliefs throughout this debate, and to try and discredit that with a shallow argument such as this one does not do justice to the otherwise thought-provoking debate we have participated in over the last few days.
Thus concludes my side of the debate, I have thoroughly enjoyed it and found it to be quite intriguing. All the best, and maybe we can do this again in the future.
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