There is a dark side of the Internet, a side beyond the issues of censorship and copyright protections. It's what happens to people who spend 12 hours a day scrolling and chatting and downloading, isolated from people, from social functions, from the breeze of a spring day, the touch of Grandma's hand or the cold of Spot's nose.
Forget the weirdos and political posturing. We are in danger of creating a generation of Internet introverts.
Internet introverts are not computer nerds. Computer nerds are people whose social existence revolves around computers. Internet introverts are socially dysfunctional; they write online, talk online, view the world from online, order books and pizza online. They use a cloak of computer-based anonymity to say what they want, view what they want, read what they want. They replace the day-to-day obligations created by social mores with the world they find inside a personal computer. Their numbers are growing as access to the online world increases.
A social phenomenon, very different from the social or real world, is birthing itself online. So we'd best pass judgment now: Let's stop the creation of new Internet introverts, one at a time.
I am online, and have been since 1985. I do research, correspond, buy books and occasionally I just roam the Net. I have twin 4-year-old sons who love to play on the computer when I allow it, which is no more than two hours a week in half hour sessions. Why? Because they are kids and should be out roughhousing, touching, experiencing the real world.