The internet helps people in many ways, but there are also many unseen problems associated with the internet. Having control over Internet content can be a good thing & the awareness about false information online is much necessary. First of all, the information on the Internet is not always true. People can easily post false information. This can be a problem when people are doing research.
In one study, teachers said the Internet helps students do better research. However, the same teachers also said it is difficult for students to find reliable information.
Tips for Finding Reliable Information
- Make sure the website includes the writer’s name.
- Look for the date that the information was posted.
- Websites ending in .edu and .org are often reliable.
- Check facts with other websites.
Another problem is Internet hoaxes. For example, Vera reads online that Mars will be so close to Earth at 4:30 a.m. that it will look like there are two moons in the sky. She sets her alarm and gets up in the middle of the night. But she can only see one moon! The information she read was a hoax, but false information can spread quickly on social networking sites, and lots of people can think it’s true.
Another example of a hoax was when someone posted that you can charge your phone with an onion! Don’t try it! It isn’t true. Some hoaxes are more dangerous. Some people have lost a lot of money because of emails from fake10 banks asking them for their banking information. Maybe he tried to charge his phone with an onion!
Cyberbullying is another problem on the Internet. Malalia SiafaBangura, a New York City student, was cyberbullied on Facebook by a girl from her class at school. The classmate posted mean11 messages on Malalia’s Facebook page and even said she was going to hurt Malalia.
In a 2011 study, 88 percent of American teens that use the Internet said they have seen someone be mean to another person on a social networking site. Cyberbullying can make teens feel terrible, and some even kill themselves.
However, in 2012, Malalia decided to do something about it. She wrote a song against cyberbullying, and she sang it with other classmates in an educational program for her school.
Ways to Stop Cyberbullying
- Don’t respond.
- Tell a teacher or a parent.
- Save mean messages: you may need to go to the police.
- Tell the police if it doesn’t stop. Cyberbullying is a serious problem.
Betsy Sparrow, a researcher at Columbia University, thinks the Internet changes how we use our brains. In a study, she looked at Internet usage and memory. People were given 40 facts to type into a computer. Half of the people were told the information was saved, and the others were told it was deleted.
The group that thought the information was deleted remembered more of the facts. Dr. Sparrow says that when we know we can find answers on the Internet, we don’t remember as much information. However, she also found that people remember what websites to go to in order to find different kinds of information better than they remember facts. She doesn’t think this is bad, only that the Internet is changing the kinds of things we remember.