There was a time not so long ago when people did not have the internet. Some people jokingly call it “the dark ages” others still manage perfectly fine without it. But nowadays; many cannot live without it. I know this is article is a tad ironic considering I am posting it to an online site, but I am typing this up in a word document due to currently having no internet connection, having not had one for three days now. I am one of the last people of my age group who still remembers when at school we had blackboards with chalk instead of whiteboards; the use of floppy disks in school (where we had a great trial saving any work to them) and also when my teacher taught my class at the age of six to send our first email (using AOL dial up connection). Before that though? People didn’t really have the same level of dependency on it.
As a society, the internet is a large part of our lives. We use it for shopping; finding discount codes, booking holidays and days out; reading articles such as this one, playing games, meeting new people; talking to friends, watching films and so much more. The internet is virtually inescapable. The problem is, are we as a society so reliant on the internet for basic tasks that we have lost vital skills?
Whilst I was still studying at college, our teacher tasked us with a research project on sociology. So many of my colleagues were perplexed on how to start this project due to the fact that the college had suffered from a complete internet shut down. I meanwhile, had already found the relevant section and began researching in the library. But again, as a job seeker now, one thing that I keep coming across is how even small local businesses will not take CVS. They’ll only accept online applications.

Which is somewhat unfair due to the fact many people may not be able to understand how to use a computer (due to age or another reason) or have the money to have one, or the inability to access the local library computer.
Many employers now rely on “questionnaires” of which applicants answer in order to determine their suitability for a particular role. The only problem with these questionnaires, they only determine so much, and if the questionnaire has not picked up in a flaw for said candidate, i.e. the inability to travel to different locations, all it serves is to waste the candidate and the employer’s time.
Then there is the lack of good communication skills in general. I have noticed much to my ever increasing chagrin that since the explosion in popularity of the “social networking” sites such as Facebook and Twitter; people have become so utterly rude. Walking through town, I have had complete strangers hurl horrible, vile abuse at me, simply walking past them; or picking fights with random strangers.

Then there is the complete lack of being able to maintain a stable friendship or relationship in general; many of my friends will only speak to their family members on Facebook, not face to face (this is when they are in the same house as each other) or will constantly “like” each others posts… but not actually know the first thing about someone. When asked “well why don’t you say hi to them” they answer “well they don’t bother to comment on my stuff”, are humans becoming so self-absorbed that they don’t know the basic manners that used to make up a code of etiquette?

Please don’t misunderstand, the internet has many wonderful uses, as does social networking, but I think as a society; we are becoming so utterly dependent on it that we have no real understanding how to function in “the real world”. When I worked at a nursery at the beginning of last year, some of the children couldn’t get their heads around being told to “play outside” due to their care givers leaving them in front of an iPad or computer all day. Whatever happened to “imaginative play?”

I apologize if it does sound so soap boxy, it’s just something that I have been pondering for a while I guess. It is just hard to see “childhood” innocence die so early on due to being left to view things they are not ready for. Whatever happened to actually getting to know one another, being there for each other? What happened to being a “family unit?” There are things we can all learn, without Google teaching us it before then.