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Has the internet spawned generations of socially retarded people?

Thermonuclear Warrior

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Throughout my other posts, I keep referring to the Internet as a socially damaging utility.I feel that it may be the downfall for the generations born in the late 70's, 80's and up. People from my generation and younger that grew up or are growing up with Internet at their finger tips really fail to appreciate many things in life. Sure there are many benefits. For example, thanks to the 'net, there is this community that is devoted to helping people with social and mental issues. This could not be done for free 20 years ago, perhaps it could via BBS's, but computers were much more uncommon in the 80's and early 90's...the cheapest computer costing upwards of $1000.

Anyway, I greatly appreciate the immediate access to media and information brought forth by the Internet. However, people within my age group (I'm 23) really fail to appreciate many things in life. For one, piracy is a huge issue..and is something I regretfully take part in as well. Being a huge fan of music, I hate the fact that everything can be downloaded for free. People no longer appreciate music like they did. I actually started off collecting digital music as a teenager just like the rest of my generation. However, in recent years I've been collecting cd's, records, and cassettes. Reading the liner notes, seeing the artwork, and listening to the fully uncompressed audio really gives the music value. The analog appeal of a vinyl can not be replicated with an iPod or any modern music playback device.

The music industry is suffering the most due to its ease of accessibility thanks to the Internet. Movies, video games and plenty of other art forms are no longer appreciated nearly as much as they used to be due to piracy being the cheapest and simplest way to acquire something these days. As a kid, I appreciated video games a lot and all of a sudden, once the early 2000's hit, I was able to just download everything for free and became overwhelemd with quantity and lost appreciation for tangibility and quality. Since then, I completely lost interest in video games. Luckiliy for me, my passion for music has been life long and I will always collect music. I refuse to pay for digital copies of anything...

Also, the whole streaming porn thing has pretty much destroyed me sexually..and possibly activated my depression. It limited the things that I am aroused to and I feel that what I have seen in porn has been extremely mentally damaging. 20-30 years ago, I would have had to pay for any explicit nudify and I most likely would've cheaped out and bought a record or food instead. Even if I were to purchase a nude magaine, the imagery was far more innocent than it is today. Streaming pornography sites probably see the most traffic out of any sites on the web...and I'm not the only one that has been damaged from it. I am pretty much cutting myself off from browsing the Internet outside of a few forums and my email now and I'm hoping that over time, I'll grow past this problem.

Fuck the Internet!! I'd love to live in the 70's or 80's where society wasn't as perverted, American cars were trucks, and the music was awesome...and the ladies probably a little classier then they are today. Aside from using the Internet and having a modern computer, i pretty much live int he 80's/early 90's right now. Any 23 year olds driving 30 year old cars or collecting records, tapes and cd's? My biggest reason for posting this thread is for the previous paragraph. I feel that without exposure to so much perverted imagery, I may have turned out a little better....perhaps even a good citizen. To all you 30+ year olds, I'd trade with you in a heart beat. Those of you with the same problems as me are at least married with children...who knows if I'll even cross that path seeing as I have the same depression issues as people 15-20 years older than me.

Edited by Thermonuclear Warrior
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I dont see a problem with internet, i like internet. I Iike having an mp3 insted of all that tapes or cds. Yea i probably have some downloaded mp3 but try to buy a cd/dvd in my country, i only have a few originals. If u use internet only for porn then u might be using it the wrong way, ive reunited with some family members that live in other countrys thanks to internet.

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My father reunited with an estranged family member that he hasn't seen in 30 years. This all went downhil la few weeks later after she stated that she never wants to see him again and wants nothing to do with him.... It would have been better for him to just live his life. Second, he reuinted with a highschool friend that he hasnt seen in over 40 years....and the guy turned out to be a huge asshole. After this, I told him to stop with these reunions because they were adding unneeded stress to his life...

Anyway that is sall besides the point. In theory the internet is great for long distance relationships. I'ts nice to be able to monitor your family and exchange pictures and talk online for free rather than paying ridiculous phone charges. There are many beneficial things about the Internet that I did not mention in my original post. However, I feel that the negatives outweigh the positives and that society was just better off without it.

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Hi TW,

I agree - the internet can be a very damaging thing. It takes away from face-to-face time, people are becoming addicted to it (ie: over an hour a day spent on it and more on weekends) and it's getting in the way of other things that are or should be part of daily life (household chores, exercise, hobbies). I guess it's kind of replaced TV, but somehow it seems even more addictive. It can trick a person into feeling like it's fulfilling a need to connect with others (social networking) or a physical need (porn) when it's really just an illusion.

I was reading about routines yesterday and the fact that we need routines even as adults. It provides some predictability, which is comforting and familiar. But some routines are simply habits, and we've got to watch out for the bad ones. Feeling compelled to be on the internet the second you get home, the second the kids are in bed, the second you're done dinner - is just a bad habit. It just really doesn't move your life forward, it doesn't fulfill you, it doesn't give you great relationships, it doesn't provide your life with meaning and it doesn't generate an income (internet usage for work excluded). So it's important to not let it disrupt these things, which are far more important in the long run.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think the most direct yet seemingly ignored damage the internet is doing is this ability to connect. Everything that ever existed, anyone any place any time. Incredibly brilliant goes without saying.

But I think people are turning weird... We can read news from all over the world from any "ordinary" person like ourselves. And I think it's great to finally see the world as it really is, so directly. But should we know everything as it is, all the way round this rather big planet we live on? It's a lot to cope with and it's clearly blowing a lot of our minds! Noone really knows who they are anymore and everyone's stressed and lost now. We see and hear so much, it's just a chaotic mess for us to pick our way through.

I feel we're losing a lot of our ability to have integrity of any sort in a world SO well connected. We're not all here to carry the world on our shoulders and we risk missing out on changing our immediate surroundings if we're too interested in news elsewhere.

I think self discipline is the key but I don't know if anyone is really up to that the way things are going. Of course the older generations have that, but I don't think us lot growing up IN to this will be the same. We're not going to ask our children how to use new technology. We're in the loop so much that it'll just be part of us we'll never grow old in the same way. Ouch.

Edited by Treeline
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Guest cokeaine

Thermonuclear Warrior, I think you make some good points. Your post was very well thought out and put together.

Of course the Internet has spawned a lot of corruption and misery in many different forms. And, it has also provided many benefits to people, this forum for instance. However, I think the situation with the Internet is a middle-ground. It's not ALL bad, but I think most of it pretty much is. It leans more towards the "more bad' side, if that makes sense.

Re kindling old relationships can always cause problems as well. I have tried contacting old 'friends' I used to know on Facebook, to get them to take off some old photos and videos of me that are insulting to my character as well as my reputation. They won't do it, and I don't want employers or family seeing that type of stuff. 20-30 years ago, that problem wouldn't have existed.

I was once told the greatest thing you can do on the Internet is: 1) Don't get involved too much, and 2) Keep your virtual footprint intact. So basically, don't put yourself out there too much, and don't plaster your name and face all over the web. Employers as well as law enforcement agencies monitor the web for any strange activity these days.

I can still remember, oh, maybe 12, 13 years ago now.... I would be with my brother in our basement, and we'd be in that room (and the room on the opposing side of the wall), and everything would feel so... secure. We had a private network that our Dad had set up. It used something called 'Usenet', which connected us to a private Usenet server that our ISP gave us. And he also had us hooked up to his work's network, as well as our own Intranet. We had everything we possibly needed and we knew where to look to find everything. No viruses, no problems. But of course, things change, and so did the Internet. Long story short, 13 years later, I've seen the worst of the worst and dealt with the rudest and most idiotic people you could imagine on the world wide web.

As Treeline referred to, the Internet has damaged real human social qualities and replaced them with artificial wants, needs and attributes. People use the Internet to make up for their perceived flaws. They use it to boost themselves up and launch themselves into a fake virtual world that is "perfect" and great for them. It's like a drug. From dating sites to cheating on your school work, the Internet has filled a major gap in humans. And it is very bad, because instead of letting us GROW and DEFEAT our problems by OURSELVES, the Internet has instead just sort of done the job for us. Humans evolved and adapted over the years because we were able to overcome problems mentally as well as physically. But the Internet has indeed made people lazy, and people nowadays have come to rely on the Internet to solve the problem for them instead of them solving the problem for themselves, whatever that problem may be.

I will be blunt, Thermonuclear Warrior, the same can be said about all of us here on this forum. Sure, we give each other great support, but we lack the actual connection with each other - the social, physical, lively, human connection. In reality, we make our posts about ourselves, and then log off and forget about it. Sometimes we even conspire against one another, or we come to despise one another. We wouldn't really care about each other because we don't know who we all are; we only know ourselves based off of usernames and avatars. But we don't know each other on a personal level like people used to know each other on. I can have a great connection with people on here but it could be 20 times as better with someone in a real life relationship, such as a co-worker, next door neighbour etc. So I think to some degree it has made us socially retarded, but it is our fault.

This is the situation of the Internet today.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you for starting this thread, TW, I think it's a very important subject and I agree with most of the posts that the internet can be both good and bad.

It's bad in that it can take the place of face to face interaction, people can get addicted and not go out and socialize at all. I remember when I was young, playing out in the street with other kids...I wonder if anyone plays games like 'Oranges and Lemons' or 'Ring a ring a rosy' any more? I feel it's also dummying everyone down. Language abbreviations are the norm on many sites and forums, as is bad spelling.

Having said that.....the internet probably saved my sanity. For more than thirty years I was alive (kind of) but dead inside, and then I discovered the internet. Going on the internet opened up the world to me - a world I had forgotten existed outside of my boundaries. TV, radio, newspapers, magazines - everything here is censored so information is hard to come by and there are no libraries so imagine how it felt to me to suddenly be able to find information on almost anything I wanted to! (almost anything as the internet is censored too but because of it's very nature not everything online can be censored so it's still a whole lot more than I would otherwise be able to access).

I confess that I do download music - there is a limited amount of western music available here, and I watch movies/tv shows online as we don't have cinemas, and as I said, TV is strictly censored.

Because of the internet - and The Oprah Winfrey show - I decided to get help for myself and went to see a psychiatrist. Then I found this site and I can't express how much it, the people on it, have helped me.

The one thing that I regret though, is a big thing. I am unable to read books now. Before the internet, books were all I had, and I read anything I could get my hands on. Books have taught me so much and I hope and pray that the internet doesn't make them obsolete - because they too helped to keep me sane.

Overall I think that if people use the internet sensibly it can be of great good.

Take care everyone.

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I think it's like most everything else. Everything in moderation. It's opened up my world as well because I am able to express myself so much better in writing than I do verbally. It gives me the opportunity to make new friends...to practice and learn and then apply all of that to my relationships offline.

M, I'm happy that the internet has offered you some ways to connect and help yourself. We appreciate and enjoy having you in our community. :) My daughter shares your concern about books. She loves her books and fears technology may eventually do away with them. I think this would be a huge mistake. Reading from a book seems such a precious learning tool and also, for those who are parents, this is a powerful way to connect with our children as well.

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Hi IJ, thank you for your kindess. I too find it easier to write about things - I don't think I could ever verbally express any of things I have written about here.

I don't think anything can (or should) replace books...just the feel of them in your hand as you read is somehow comforting and pleasant. That's why when I hear of inventions like the Kindle it saddens me a little, because people think they need an alternative to books. As I mentioned I hate it that I can't read books as I used to - I just can't concentrate on anything for long any more. I'm not sure why.

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  • 1 month later...

The greatest book ever written by Dr Seuss sums up the human error in a way that mostly children can understand. In the wrong hands anything can be misused. Without knives and forks we would eat like cavemen yet with them there is the risk of injury. The internet is inanimate and intangible. Blaming it for the world's problems is a convenience. If a person is self destructive ( either physically or morally) than they will find a tool to do so. Because there is a gun in the closet does not mean you shoot someone or yourself. Shirking responsibility is not a crime initself. If it was we would all be in jail.:eek:

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  • 8 years later...
  • 2 months later...

It really annoys me when I see people blaming some abstract entity when humans behave like assholes. Example: the big culture battle now is against social media conglomerates like Facebook, Twitter, etc. but what you will read are statements like “Facebook is evil” or “Twitter is toxic” followed by some argument that they need to be dissolved. Many will even recognize the toxic nature of SOCIAL media in general, but then blame the platform. By definition social media is comprised of human beings. If it’s toxic it’s because human beings are toxic. It is quite literally a technology built upon human interaction. 

These are the same people who will say things like “violence erupted” or “crime descended”. Like something literally swooped out of the air and took possession of a human. It is doubly irritating to me because these same people (most of them) will heap mountains of scorn and hurl insults at religious people and their supposed stupidity, yet here they are essentially “conjuring” abstract, superstitious entities out of thin air to explain why human beings do the cruel, stupid, violent, mean shit they do. It’s exactly like a child saying, “the devil made me do it!” 

ANYTHING to avoid acknowledging the fact that human beings are the root, not the technology which just capitalizes on human nature. And I’ve seen individuals point this out before on Twitter and get excoriated for it. Nobody is ever responsible for their own actions. Ever. It’s always some entity floating in the ether, waiting to descend.

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On 9/17/2020 at 2:33 PM, Klingsor said:

“the devil made me do it!” 

I hope you don't mind me referencing again one of my favourites shows, for instance through this fan-made compliation music video:


If you don't want to watch the whole video (for what ever reason, for instance that it's full of spoilers), you may try the very beginning, but mainly the excerpt beginning here: https://youtu.be/fjtnHieN_n4?list=PLNm5ZnWoRoW2-1qcrCMiVtuql1csWscgK&t=93 ;) 

Or... it's easier to just read it here:


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