Double-Edged Cyber Sword

Every day, students spend hours sitting and staring at their computer screens. In the morning, students log onto their PA accounts to check their email. At conference period, hordes stream into the PACC; it is not uncommon for all of the library computers to be occupied. Lunch and free periods are spent at the keyboard and computer use in the evenings is the norm. In the last few years, computers and the internet have become crucial to everyday life, not only at PA, but all over the world. Not only have they made communication much easier but have also elevated research and expedited globalization. Unfortunately, as we become more dependent on this process, the downside of computer reliance becomes less obvious. Take for example, the use of, which is now more then a site, but a way of life. It takes up huge amounts of time, which could be spent productively. Fall 2005 marked the beginning of the “Facebook era.” The site began as an incredible convenience and innovation in campus social life. One could simply type in a name to access a full page on the individual, complete with birthday, personal interests and a profusion of pictures. But as its popularity grew, people became addicted. Students began to spend hours pouring over their friends’ picture albums, engaging in poke wars, and coming up with witty comments to post on walls. One year later, remains a source of student entertainment, but also an inconvenient temptation that gobbles up precious time. I get as much enjoyment as the next person from adding brilliant new albums and waiting for others to tag photos of me, but what started as a social networking tool has turned into a time vacuum. With this new tool for procrastination at their fingertips, students will see their grades slipping and will lose far more sleep than necessary. Although I don’t propose shutting the site down, it is an obvious example of the internet’s detrimental effects on our generation. The internet is much more than just a device for student socializing; millions of people around the world use it as a means for handling personal finance. Banks across the globe boast of online banking. They advertise that online transactions and deposits are easier and more convenient to make. However, along with this new kind of finance comes a new generation of theft. Online identity theft is becoming more and more common as personal information is frequently shared over the internet among customers, bankers and business men. Now, individuals worry about the prospect of their bank accounts being hijacked by a thief online. What started as a convenience has turned into another hassle. While banks spend millions of dollars advertising online checking, they must spend as much on advertising campaigns for identity theft solutions. Everyone has seen the Citibank identity theft ads that promote answers to the new problems, which are a result of the growing use of the internet. The rise of the internet has shaped our way of life. Only a decade ago, students spent hours pouring over library books, whereas today, answers are just a Google search away. There are countless examples of how computers and the internet make our lives easier, but take heed: what may seem convenient may in fact be incredibly problematic.