Depending on your interests and desires, the internet can be a blessing or a curse. The internet was created as a collaboration tool, to make it easier to share information. This information highway, as we now call it, has plenty of things to do. Just like in the real world, the internet is a reflection of how people think and act. But is it time well spent?
The internet reflects the real world in a big way. Michio Kaku, a popular physicist, says that the internet does not change human behaviour. Most people understand this to mean that the way people are offline is the same way they are online. The thing about the internet is that it magnifies behaviour. It uses to be smaller groups of people making decisions, now it can be in the millions. Thinking of the internet this way as a teenager can bring up interesting ideas. One is that they can make many more friends. Another is that they can abuse people without fear of reprisals. The positive idea of making friends is good, but also shallow. The negative idea of being able to abuse others is not good and should be avoided.
For teenagers that feel like the internet controls them, this can be avoided, ironically, by using friends and family. A true friend is one that you can talk to about anything. They should be able to correct you, even if you are a teenager. The internet is a true time-killer if there is no worthy goal to accomplish. Life is made up of time. Spending hours swiping and swiping endless photos of the latest cat GIFs is not the best way to spend a life. YouTube videos of silly people can give a smile, but when it comes down to it, those same videos cost dearly in terms of life lost.
Teenagers think they will live for many more years. Fortunately, this is mostly true. Losing a day or an afternoon cruising the web seems like nothing to a young person who believes they have lots of years ahead. Yet thinking ahead can be a better plan. The internet has become a place where people meet, buy and sell, learn, and many of the other things that we use to do face to face. Yes, we have video calling now, but that can never take the place of going out to a restaurant with that same person. The internet is superficial when it comes to cultivating personal relationships. The real world is, well, real. The real world has no such limitations on growing a relationship or making a true friendship.
On the flip-side, the internet can be a great place to learn. Video games are one of the most popular things to do online these days. But video games are created by programmers. This is one of the most profitable jobs to learn these days. Learning to code along with the “big guys” is a great way to spend a day or longer. It provides a future, it provides direction. It makes good money as well.
Using the internet to enrich instead of to steal hours of life is a much better plan. Using the gaming example, why not create a gaming club that learns to code the next big multiplayer game? If two heads are better than one, then three or ten are even better. Creativity can flow between gamers who are also having good friendship. It could also end up changing the world for the better.
The best way to predict your future is to invent it.