I was able to get on the Internet in its earliest days. In Cleveland one of the universities had 80 or so phone lines dedicated to dial-in access. It was first come, first served, so busy signal was not uncommon.
There were chat groups for every interest, noble or profane, but people generally interacted with a “live and let live” attitude. Perhaps this was because most users were either certified geeks or geeks-at-heart.
Then the Internet evolved into the World Wide Web (for those who are too young, that’s what the “www” at the beginning of many web addresses means.
As they say, “There goes the neighborhood.”
Now it’s seen as a way to express hatred, to spread falsehoods or half-truths, and–if you’re a malevolent government–a place to promote division and create doubt.
It’s also the avenue for some people to post their suck-in-the-gut, best-angle, cosmetically enhanced, and Photoshopped virtual reality picture that can cause normal people to despair. Comparing themselves to these phony perfect bodies and faces are believed to have contributed to an increase in suicide among young people.
I suspect that every supermodel, movie hunk, K-Pop Star, or whatever went though awkwardness acne, and/or hating their body during their teen years. The Internet has gotten so huge that we’ll never see an objective, scientific analysis of truth vs. falsehood.
If you have kids, make sure they understand that if it’s on the Internet, it’s not necessarily true.
The Internet was less harmful when only the Geeks knew about it.