Remember years ago when the internet was in its infancy and every second article you read about it in the mainstream media had to do with dark and dangerous scenarios such as exploitation of minors or identification theft?
As someone who immediately embraced this new medium, I was continually defending it’s potential for enhancing our lives against those who rallied against this modern day Pandora’s Box of omnipresent evil.
Now I’m not naive enough to say that it’s a safe and foolproof medium, but what is in this world? Even fine institutions like churches or schools are not immune from scandalous incidents involving adults and minors, so essentially all we can really do is try to ensure the safest environment possible.
And a lot of progress has been made through the years. I had an incident back in the 90s where my then 11-year-old son was showing me a great guitar tab site he had discovered, and I was blown away by the sheer volume of info available. As a huge fan of the band AC/DC, I clicked on their link and WHAM! I had a very graphic and explicit pop-up that was a fine example of the crap that can exist in the confines of the net. I was just as offended by the stupidity and pointlessness of the whole thing, cause who needs help finding porn on the net? Hello! Luckily junior had left the room, or that father/son talk would have been very interesting indeed. With today’s’ software and browsers, pop-ups have gone the way of the dinosaurs for the most part.
So it’s fair to say that the internet is changing and evolving to become a much better communicative and info sharing appliance. As a writer, I find Google and Wikipedia indispensable tools which can allow me to sound like I know what I’m talking about some of the time. But here again, discretion is the key for as I’ve told my teens many times, just because it’s on the net, doesn’t mean it’s always true.
And how about peer to peer file sharing (Napster, Limewire) and how it’s influenced the way music is dispensed to the masses. A few years back, many experts were predicting the end of the industry as we know it. But the net has helped bands as it can be used for marketing, fan interaction, and even distribution of various products including their music, videos, or promotional stuff like T-shirts. For the music buying public, we have more choices available as to how we want our tunes, and with a greater selection.