How can computers be harmful to a society?How can computers be harmful to a society?

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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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We tend to view them as an answer to everything.  We tend to look for our answers online rather than reading books, we tend to communicate electronically rather than face to face.  We say things we wouldn't say in public online, and peoples privacy is violated all the time because of computers.  Identity theft is also much more common and easier because of them.

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fernholz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

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Computers can be harmful to society, because they hinder social interaction. When we revert to communication through email instead of talking over the phone or in person, we can forget how to interact with people.

Another harmful aspect of computers includes the things you say over email. It may be easier for people to say what they feel through email opposed to face-to-face. What people say through email might be taken the wrong way because the reader can't see the writers body language. 50% of our communication is through body language. Emails can easily be misinterpreted. Feelings can be hurt. Relationships can be harmed.

In my Media class students learn about online privacy. How many schools don't have media class? They will probably not know that putting their address online and chatting to strangers is wrong. Children are very naive and they seem to believe all people are good, when in reality criminals and sex offenders are preying on them.

Basically computers can be a great tool if used in moderation and not the only means of communication. We need to educate our young people about proper use of computers. Also, people should maintain face-to-face interaction with other people. Computers should not substitute human interaction. If this occurs computers would threaten society as we know it.

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drmonica | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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My opinion is that the most negative aspect of computers is that they have created a way for people to isolate themselves from friends and family and retreat into the virtual world. I remember when my son was a young teenager he would rather put on his headphones and listen to his walkman or absorb himself in his Game Boy than interact with the rest of the family. I really worried at the time that he was developing a terrible habit. Thankfully, he is now in college and while he loves his Facebook and Xbox 360, he sets aside time to play it just as he sets aside time to go swimming in the college pool or attend social events with his fraternity. While he is playing, he enjoys it tremendously, but he also doesn’t allow it to take over all his free time or keep him from enjoyable social interaction with other people. I hope that part of his learning to manage his use of the computer  is due to my discussing with him the importance of face to face interaction, although I’m sure that much of it is also due to his maturing and growing up.

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scarletpimpernel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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All the other posts accurately mention the dangers normally associated with computers.  Here are a couple of personal examples: one detriment is that my students find it so much easier to plagiarize--even unintentionally--because of the abundant information online and their tendency to claim others' work as their own through copy/paste.  Because of this, my workload has increased substantially (my school district does not subscribe to any type of paper-checking program like Turn It In) as I check students work for writing issues and online plagiarism.  This, of course, goes along with Post #4's point that computers have made people lazier, not just in the physical sense but also in the mental sense.

Additionally, the invasion of computers into family time is dramatic.  I've had two students tell me that they have spent whole weekends in their bedrooms playing video games on their computers, only leaving to go to the bathroom.  One of these students even told me that his mom put a mini-fridge in his room so that he wouldn't have to interrupt gaming to go to the kitchen!

One last note, with the influx of Internet social networking sites such as Facebook, some families are being broken apart.  I know that this is going to sound extreme, but I have had three acquaintances in the last few years who have contacted or been contacted by old high school friends, etc., via Facebook and who eventually left their husbands/wives for those "friends" after rekindling their old relationships.  While I know that Facebook is not to blame for these broken relationships, it and other sites like it have made it easier for this type of almost anonymous communication to occur and to develop into something else.  I seriously doubt that these acquaintances of mine would have even thought or contacted their old "friends" if it were not for the convenience of computers.

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ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

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Pohnpei397 had interesting points. Computers do offer an easy way for people to isolate themselves and they do create a wider and less secure doorway for tech savvy criminals. One big issue with regard to the criminal element is that the threat is sometimes so covert individuals are not even aware it’s occurring. Malware, spyware, and other virulent computer issues are sometimes hard to detect. Even with programs designed for detection, the "bad techies" seem to be outpacing the "good techies." These corrupting programs can create catastrophic results, especially if the criminal has enough knowledge to hack into or infect computers specific to the area in which they want to cause mayhem--such as a power distributor’s computer.

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readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Here is my two cents:

1. Computers can give a false sense of community. Robert Putnam, in his book, Bowling Alone in America, has documented the lack of community in modern America. Virtual communities are not real communities. There is something about face to face interaction.

2. Computers may seek to replace people. If everything is automated by computers, where will people work?

3. Computers give the false sense that they are infallible and effective. But there will be times when human intuition, wisdom and compassion will have to play a role. Computers can't come close to doing these things!

4. Computer may break down. What then? And it seems that this happens every two years.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I would argue that there are three ways computers can harm society.

  1. They make it easier for people to go long periods without actually interacting with other people face to face.  That makes people more alienated from each other and weakens the ties that bind our societies together.
  2. They give criminals good ways to get access to victims.  This can be through hacking and identity theft but it can also be through sexual predators getting to know victims over the internet.
  3. Finally, you can argue that the increase in computers leads to a greater demand for energy (to manufacture and run the computers).  This causes us to deplete our resources and can contribute to global warming.
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barb-p | Elementary School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

I would argue that there are three ways computers can harm society.

  1. They make it easier for people to go long periods without actually interacting with other people face to face.  That makes people more alienated from each other and weakens the ties that bind our societies together.
  2. They give criminals good ways to get access to victims.  This can be through hacking and identity theft but it can also be through sexual predators getting to know victims over the internet.
  3. Finally, you can argue that the increase in computers leads to a greater demand for energy (to manufacture and run the computers).  This causes us to deplete our resources and can contribute to global warming.

I would also say that computers tend to reduces our thinking skills overall. It tells us whn we make spelling or gramatical errors, therefore we are not relying on our own knowledge. It will become increasingly difficult to write a paper on your own.

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krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

Starting from late twentieth century computers have made a revolutionary impact on our society. For this reason, the era we are currently passing through is often called the age of information revolution. Computers have impacted all aspects of society including industry, business, products, and the way we live and interact with each other. Computers have helped in automation of many processes in the products we use and in industry and business. They have improved dramatically the speed of analysing and communicating information, which has made tremendous impact on improving decision making, monitoring and control. This has further resulted in great improvements in efficiency and effectiveness of management of businesses and industries. In sum computers have led to great developments in technology, improved standards of living of people, and in general made life easier for them. Thus we can equate harmful effect of computers with almost all the harmful effects of technology, and material prosperity. Some such harmful effects of computers are listed below.

  • It has made people lazier. Lack of physical exercise by people can lead to diseases. Working with computer terminals for extended periods leads to additional musculoskeletal disorders specific to this kind of work.
  • By speeding up all the business and other communication processes, it has deprived people of easy, laid back style of life, where people did not have much, but yet they were in no hurry to get more.
  • It has made people more materialistic.
  • It has made people more dependent on technology. In this way it has impinged on independence of people.
  • Ability to communicate very effectively through Internet has reduced the level of personal interaction. A corollary to this is that since people are able to communicate with people around the world with ease, their proportion of communication with people immediately around them, for example with family members has reduced. It appears many parent are very much distressed that their children spend too much time on the computers, and too little with them.
  • New form of highly foot-in-the-door type salesmen-ship have developed and proliferated. This include the annoying advertisements that pop up on your computer screen, and refuse to be closed. Spam mail is also a big pest.
  • Computer virus is a problem specific to computers. But i suspect that it is just a different version of the practice of throwing nails on the road to increase the business volume for repairing punctured tires.

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