As the negative stigma surrounding the internet expands with every data breach, cyberbullying incident, and illegal distribution of weapons or drugs over the black market, it becomes more and more comfortable to associate the internet with the selfishness and insensitivity of society today. Despite these adverse effects, the many benefits of the internet are crucial to the progression of modern culture. Along with improvements to general welfare, the internet is to credit for the enhancement of the United States' current education system, foreign affairs, and the refinement of the American economy. Without the internet, the United States would struggle to compete with others on a global scale through a lack of innovation, communication, and international commerce. Therefore, despite the negative repercussions which flourish with the expansion of the internet, its enhancement to education, the economy, and foreign affairs overcome these unfavorable attributes and establishes itself as a necessity in society today.
Firstly, the education system of the United States has favorably evolved in unison with technological advancements. Through devices such as laptops and iPads, students are able to retrieve and analyze information on a larger scale than ever before. This allows for an accelerated, yet more extensive, curriculum as teachers can progress through units faster while also incorporating a tremendous amount of information. Along with this, the usage of the internet in the classroom has allowed students to collaborate with fellow classmates and teachers with greater ease than was possible in the past. For instance, in the article, “How Technology is Shaping the Future of Education”, author Zoë Bernard explains that technology has allowed for students to assume more independence in the classroom. When interviewing Brian Greenberg, CEO of Silicon Schools, he states that, “‘there's an increasing push for students to take more ownership and have more involvement into how they learn … creating agency in the classroom improves student's motivations'” (Bernard). Through this representation of technology in the classroom, it can be understood that in order to continue to enhance the overall knowledge of society, students must have access to devices during most of their education in order to continue to invent new ideas, methods, and devices which propel the United States forward. Without this, the general public will be doomed to the ideology of the past, causing any future progression to become exceptionally challenging. Therefore, technology is an extremely significant component of the education system as it is crucial to the development of new ideas and inventions in modern society.
In addition to education, the internet is a pivotal element of the successful economy constructed by the United States. As the economy is the measure of all production, distribution, and consumption of good and services, the internet has been instrumental in managing these transactions, providing an incredibly vast medium for commerce, and encouraging investment opportunities. One illustration of this can be found in the article, “The U.S. is Worth $966 Billion” through author Tom Risen incorporating various statistics to showcase the economy's reliance on the internet. Through this usage of data, Risen, a staff writer for US News, reveals that, “The Internet Connects 92 percent of Americans with the broader world and generates 6 percent of the U.S. economy” (Risen). Through this, it can be understood that without the profit brought in from the internet, the United States' economy would forfeit a large section of its revenue. Specifically, the internet is such a key driving point in the accumulation of these earnings due to advertising opportunities on websites such as Instagram and Facebook. Social media influencers, such as professional athletes and musicians, are utilized as advertisers by large corporations to increase profits through a method known as celebrity branding. Steve Olenski, a contributor to Forbes, explains in his article, “How Brands Should Use Celebrities for Endorsements”, that “people idolize celebrities, so when famous people are seen in advertisements promoting a new product, audiences are prompted to buy that product, either subliminally or directly” (Olenski). From this, Olenski highlights the notion that, as the usage of celebrity branding on social media continues to grow, the marketing opportunity on these websites will become even greater. As a result, the internet will continue to own a substantial amount of the revenue gained by the economy. Therefore, the internet is a prominent factor in the generation of revenue by the United States' economy, and in turn is benefitting society in its entirety.
Furthermore, the internet is also vital to the success of the United States' foreign affairs. Whether it be trade, diplomatic discussions, or aid to other countries, the internet allows for these discussions to occur almost instantaneously. One representation of the internet's benefit to foreign affairs can be observed through the expansion of international marketing. An example of this can be identified in the article, “Advantages of International Marketing”, written by Damien Troy. Troy, an expert in international markets, states that, “There are countless advantages of international marketing, including the fact that advertising the product overseas can significantly improve market expansion, and enables you to build new relationships with businesses across the globe” (Troy). Similar to its effect on the economy, the internet allows for businesses to stretch their advertising to foreign countries, allowing for a more extensive generation of revenue and leading to a more prosperous United States. In conjunction with this, the internet is crucial in enabling the United States to assist countries who have been devasted by natural disasters or war. One example of this can be seen when a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal in 2015, leaving them virtually hopeless with minute amounts of shelter, fuel, food, and other necessities. Because of this, the United States pledged to donate $10 million to aid in reconstructing Nepal. In this situation, if the internet was not regularly used within foreign affairs, the United States' government would not have learned of this disaster accordingly, and Nepal would have been left on its own to repair. Therefore, the utilization of the internet in foreign affairs is not only advantageous to the United States through international commerce, but to distant countries in need of assistance as well.
On the other hand, others would argue in favor of demonizing the internet, claiming that it is the catalyst for lazy and incompetent children which, in turn, will forge an unprofessional workforce in the near future. For instance, in the article, “Generation Z: Online and at Risk?”, Nicholas Kardaras details a testimony from parents John and Melanie, who called for help after their daughter, Heidi, had been experiencing several violent outbursts due to her obsessiveness over a Chromebook. Kardaras depicts the altercation by explaining that, “‘I'm going to kill you while you are both asleep,'” the wild-eyed 13-year-old girl said as she flailed and kicked her father…because her parents had taken away her Chromebook and her access to social media” (Kardaras). Another illustration of this can be observed in the article, “Generation Z: Technology and Social Interest” by Anthony Turner. Turner depicts this laziness through analyzing various statistics. He explains that, “71% of young people reported having televisions in their bedrooms, and half of teens surveyed accessed video-game consoles and cable or satellite TV in their bedrooms, adding nearly 1 hour more per day to TV consumption” (Turner). In contrast to these claims, these negative effects are not produced by the internet itself, but by those who have are abusing the internet through a mental health disorder known as internet addiction disorder. Mental Health America classifies internet addiction disorder, or IAD, as “people who are addicted to the Internet who often experience negative emotions or withdrawal symptoms when their internet access is restricted” (Mental Health America). From this, it can be noted that, contrary to popular belief, the individuals who abuse technology are those at fault for the negative repercussions associated with the internet. As a result, the internet continues to thrive as one of the most influential and beneficial segments of society today.
As the internet continues to improve and become increasingly comprehensive, the benefits associated with this growth will outlive the negatives falsely related to this enhancement of technology. Whether it be through the reformed education system, economical profits, or advantageous foreign affairs, the United States has, and will, prosper due to the advancement of the internet. Without the World Wide Web, the United States would be virtually stuck in the past, left with outdated ideas and inventions to compete in a constantly progressing world. Many mediums of information which are used daily, such as academic databases and social media, would be left neglected and become obsolete if society decided to abandon the internet. Therefore, the internet is a necessary aspect of society in the United States due to its improvements of general welfare, education, the economy, and foreign affairs.
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