The internet has completely changed the way our society runs. These days most jobs require you to access the internet in order to apply, and the internet is a must for school and university work. The general necessity for an internet connection has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. My school has since opted out of using planners and contact books, and instead turned to using Show My Homework to notify us of homework and events. The pandemic also led to society's rapid uptake of platforms such as Zoom and Google Meet to conduct activities that would have been in real-life were it not for Covid.

There are plenty of great things that the internet has given us. For the first time ever, people from opposite sides of the globe can talk to each other in a matter of seconds. The increase in connectivity worldwide allows us to interact with loved ones abroad, as well as to be more aware of the news in other countries. The internet can also be a vehicle for social change. In the 2019-2020 Hong Kong protests, participants used the encrypted messaging service, Telegram, to discuss protest logistics in large group chats. They also used the application AirDrop to disclose locations and logistics of protests.

The internet has given ordinary people access to information that, in the past , may have been confined to university libraries and books. Sites such as Wikipedia have brought knowledge of countless subjects to the world in many different languages other than English, making it even more accessible. A possible drawback of Wikipedia is the fact that anyone can edit or change its articles. Obviously, measures have been put in place to combat the issue, but even then, particularly in more obscure topics which few people view, inaccurate or generally badly written articles are rampant. There are many more professional alternatives to Wikipedia in various languages, such as the English Encyclopaedia Britannica, which offers more curated articles to people, although with less breadth in specialised and obscure topics.

Downsides of the internet include its risk to the mental health of adolescents. Viewing harmful content on social media can lead to mental issues, and may in extreme cases lead to suicide (as shown in the recent suicide of Molly Russell). 94% of young people in the UK have a social media account, and 36% of young internet users in England had seen worrying content on the internet, which goes to show the widespread impact of the internet on the youth.

The flipside of this is the fact that the internet offers those who suffer from mental health issues and abuse people to talk to online. Organisations such as Childline and the NSPCC offer support to those who may not be able to get help in real life.

The internet has proved itself to be a medium for fake news and misinformation. One quarter of the YouTube videos regarding Covid-19 contained misleading information, and on Facebook nearly half of all posts regarding Covid-19 were misinformation. During the US election in 2020, 40% of posts regarded the election’s legitimacy, and by the end of the election only 22% of Trump’s supporters believed his rival, Biden’s, win was legitimate.

In conclusion, while the internet does offer services such as increased connectivity and awareness, it is also a hub for misinformation and can lead to a decrease in mental health.