The Net is Nothing Good or Bad but Surfing Makes it So

Every few months, it seems, we are given new reasons why the Internet is an all-encompassing vice or, alternately, society's savior. But what really matters is how we use it. 

What's the Latest Development?


More than a decade after its entrance into the mainstream, the Internet has established itself as both a public health menace, enslaving us to our machines, as well as a boon for society, enabling people to connect with each other from far and wide. But critics say our online socialization is superficial, giving the appearance of unity while actually sequestrating individuals who might otherwise meet face-to-face. This year, the Web's celebrity-making power sent Jason Russell, creator of the mega-viral Kony 2012 video, into a mental breakdown and, for the first time, Internet Addiction Disorder will appear in the back pages of the DSM in an appendix for 'further study.' 

What's the Big Idea?

But for every detractor, there has been someone to champion the connection of the human race through so many cables and WiFi networks. From the new economic industries it has created, to hosting community health forums on everything from cancer to diabetes, some tangible good is evident, and just like the TV, may it rest in peace, potential still abounds. Trying to determine whether the Web is a positive or negative development, however, will bear little fruit because technology, morally speaking, is neutral. How we employ technology is where its value comes from. And currently, the Internet is a tool we love to use, and need to use, to make our lives run more smoothly. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

Related Articles

Human skeletal stem cells isolated in breakthrough discovery

It's a development that could one day lead to much better treatments for osteoporosis, joint damage, and bone fractures.

Image: Nissim Benvenisty
Surprising Science
  • Scientists have isolated skeletal stem cells in adult and fetal bones for the first time.
  • These cells could one day help treat damaged bone and cartilage.
  • The team was able to grow skeletal stem cells from cells found within liposuctioned fat.
Keep reading Show less

How exercise helps your gut bacteria

Gut bacteria play an important role in how you feel and think and how well your body fights off disease. New research shows that exercise can give your gut bacteria a boost.

National Institutes of Health
Surprising Science
  • Two studies from the University of Illinois show that gut bacteria can be changed by exercise alone.
  • Our understanding of how gut bacteria impacts our overall health is an emerging field, and this research sheds light on the many different ways exercise affects your body.
  • Exercising to improve your gut bacteria will prevent diseases and encourage brain health.
Keep reading Show less

Giving octopuses ecstasy reveals surprising link to humans

A groundbreaking new study shows that octopuses seemed to exhibit uncharacteristically social behavior when given MDMA, the psychedelic drug commonly known as ecstasy.

Image: damn_unique via Flickr
Surprising Science
  • Octopuses, like humans, have genes that seem to code for serotonin transporters.
  • Scientists gave MDMA to octopuses to see whether those genes translated into a binding site for serotonin, which regulates emotions and behavior in humans
  • Octopuses, which are typically asocial creatures, seem to get friendlier while on MDMA, suggesting humans have more in common with the strange invertebrates than previously thought
Keep reading Show less