Modern information technology has taken a very sharp turn regarding how information is transmitted. The mobile phone, for instance, is not only used as a mere communication device but it has as well been upgraded and highly computerized to perform multiple functions like sending and receiving emails as well as serving as a powerful entertainment tool. It has been installed with web browsers that enable the user to access the information superhighway in a similar way as the normal personal computers.
In spite of the great advancement made in information technology, there are possible dangers that the current communication growth may pose to society contrary to cultural expectations. A dominant question one may be compelled to ask is whether this modernity is preferable to the ancient forms of communication. This essay explores some of the negative impacts of modern communication systems. Specifically, the paper addresses the dangers of using the internet as compared to face-to-face communication.
Dangers of using the internet as compared to face to face communication
Use of offensive material
The internet or World Wide Web has a variety of communication channels. For instance, instant messaging or “chat” for one–on–one transfer of instant messages as well as electronic mails are major applications found in the internet ( Brinkman & Kirschner 91). Both children and adults have access to the internet as a source of information and a means of communication altogether. Either by accident or with intention, these internet users may bump into obscene materials like those portraying nude images. To make matters worse, there are a lot of pornographic sites which are emerging each day that obviously contain illicit and offensive materials (Tofanelli 75). Other websites are laced with false and misleading information. These are negative attributes which cannot be experienced with face-to-face communication. The undesirable contents are equally very easy to find in the internet aggravating the level of risk that already exists. This is just the tip of the ice burg. The following dangers associated with the use of electronic mails paints a very grim picture of modern information advances.
This is a widely used scheme by Internet fraudsters to rob victims in a non-violent manner. There are those internet criminals who make a living from scam emails. In most cases, email users might receive email messages that they did not request purportedly in reference to an attractive business deal (Carey 137). Some victims might be lured into sharing their most vital and confidential information like bank details. This has led to personal financial accounts being hacked by people not known at all. In face-to-face communication, both the respondents get to meet and know each other well before they can embark on any serious transaction. In situations where fraud cases are reported in the face to face communication, it is quite easier to make some follow-up unlike in email messaging.
The latest statistics reveal that the use of electronic mails has reached an all-time high level with more individual persons alongside corporate organizations preferring to use it as the main channel of sending and receiving messages. In other words, there is an overload in the use of electronic mails. Most developed economies have voiced their concerns on the way in which emails are perceived to pull behind economic development (Carey p.143). Nonetheless, face-to-face communication has never had a scenario of excessively high information flow. In fact, as long as the respondents are in reach of each other, there can be no hindrance whatsoever to exchanging communication. For this challenge to be resolved, it may demand fresh and heavy investment from technology experts. This is contrary to face-to-face communication which does not require any specific innovation or invention.
Electronic mail worms have a long history since the advent of computer technology. These worms may hinder the inflow and outflow of information in terms of speed and the bulk of information to be processed. Computer machines that are affected by worms, as well as spam or junk emails, are a real nuisance. As a result, the importance and usefulness of this form of modern technology become null and void. Worms may cost organizations millions of dollars in loss and damage repair (Schwartau 177). This is not a commonplace issue with the use of face-to-face communication. Companies that entirely depend on email communications may in some instances not reap the full benefits of entrepreneurship. Similarly, society at large cannot rely on the application of emails as a practical communication tool.
Face-to-face communication is usually regarded as the most confidential whereby some degree of privacy can be upheld (Roche 291). Not all communication messages should be open to everyone. Electronic mail does not provide for any substantial privacy in the messages that are being sent or received. This aspect does not go well with a society that puts a high value on confidentiality.
There are several reasons why email messages lack privacy. To begin with, they are not encrypted. Moreover, the email messages do not reach the destination without going through a third-party device which then reconnects the message to the final recipient. For this reason, the information may be intercepted and its contents exposed to the wrong parties. There are even some cases when electronic mail messages do not reach the targeted recipient having been lost on the way.
Other potential interceptors of email messages are the information superhighway providers who have the potential of temporarily storing email duplicates for some considerable length of time. This can pose a big threat to sensitive information. Face-to-face communication guarantees privacy to an optimum level. It is only through the consent of information bearers that any leakage can be let out.
Face-to-face communication has been deemed to be more convenient to use for a long period of time. Although the application of email is on the rise, not all groups can be reached through an email message. It is imperative to consider the literacy aspect. The use of electronic mails assumes that the entire world is literate in terms of information use. Consider a case of minors below the age of say two years, using email messaging is not convenient at all in relaying information to them (Weeramantry 92). Besides, the geographical location of both the sender and recipient of an email message has to be put into mind before any exchanges can be initiated. Therefore, face to face communication inevitably scores high in this respect while at the same time meeting the needs of society.
In spite of the dropping cost of internet access charges, the bulk of the society still cannot adequately meet the so called basic charges which most internet service providers levy on their services (Singer 374). Nevertheless, face to face communication would be more expensive especially if the geographical distance to be covered is vast.
The society expects a system of communication that is not only accessible but also affordable to all its members.
The most highly regarded strength of face-to-face communication is that it can be relayed using a variety of channels. These channels refer to the values attained by face-to-face contact between the respondents. For instance, the voice tone of those communicating is an intrinsic value that cannot be realized in electronic mails. In additional to this, such physical qualities like use of gestures and facial expressions are greatly embraced by the society as vital communication norms. Moreover, the body posture as information is being exchanged counts so much in terms of the value in the message being disseminated (Brinkman & Kirschner 105). These features of face to face communication leave an immediate impact both to the recipient and sender of the message. In contrast, the very features which are regarded by the society as important for effective communication to take place are not present in the course of using electronic mails.
As observed earlier, email messages are often characterized with junk messages or spam. The recipient in most cases may not have requested for the same in spite of the fact that they are posted in the mailbox. Some of these junk emails may as well be harmful to the device or offensive to the recipient (Melzer, Weinberger &Zinman, 206). This can be opinioned as a gross intrusion to personal privacy and businesses. Contrary to this, face-to-face communication enjoys a nearly total absence of such kind of intruders. In most cases, the recipient of the message is not only aware of the incoming communication; he is also psychologically prepared for it.
People who engage in hacking are all over the world and are not just in one particular place. We hear about them in the news time and again. “…Or worse yet, maybe you yourself or your family or your friends have been the victim of hacking” (Schwartau 142). Dangers of being hacked are open to all computer users. It is almost inevitable to elude this reality once you belong to this global society. Unfortunately there is a lot of misconception on hacking activities. Most people have had access to wrong information on hacking. Schwartau (187) argues that “hacking is not really what you thought it was after all” He emphasizes that hacking is deeply entrenched in the society we live in. The impact of this cyber crime, he adds, has more severe repercussions to every individual beyond our universal understanding. Hacking is a very serious vice that may end up consuming the societal fabric long before it is realized.
The society has transformed through a series of stages one of it being information technology. There is even greater need to conform and be flexible to the challenges brought about by this information age. The World Wide Web consists of computer network everywhere. This vast network controls sensitive activities like money transfer, movement of automobile machines like planes and educational value to our children. Sincerely speaking, computers influence our daily activities in a variety of ways. Therefore, any crime associated with it (hacking for instance) result in major consequences to every member in the society. This explains why our information systems are highly vulnerable to both internal and external threats. It also gives us an objective view point why hacking is a very protracted form of cyber crime which may not be eradicated but rather it can only be minimized to lower levels.
In order to deal with hacking in a more effective manner, both threat and vulnerability factors should be put into consideration. It is also very important to note that computer crimes can be used to commit a wide range of criminal activities such as “credit card fraud, counterfeiting, bank embezzlement, and theft of secret documents” (Nicholas et al. 59).If someone physically steal a data disk carrying a 2.0 2MB of important information, it amounts to theft. Equally, getting access to restricted sites in a computer is considered crime. This is why the society is so vulnerable and at the same time faces potential risks in this information age. Face to face communication is relatively safe and is not vulnerable to such level of criminal activities.
There have been several anti-hacking activities both in the past until to the present attempting to tame the vice. In order to fight this present age crime, decisive efforts by the relevant arms of governments are paramount. Nevertheless, regular cooperation among anti-hacking agencies is required.
As it can be observed from the essay above, revolution in communication technology has resulted into some negative impacts in the transfer of information from one place to another. Some of the dangers posed by internet and associated email services are a real threat to information flow. Compared to face to face communication, the use of internet and email has several possible risks which include but not limited to offensive materials, spamming, high cost, lack of personal touch and computer related crimes.
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