Whether you’re in school, in college, working, or retired, I’m betting the debate has been brought to you in one form or the other: is the internet a boon or a bane? Is the internet distracting us from what’s important in life (typical points being family, friends, relationships, etc.) or is it helping us grow and learn more about the world and helping us stay more in touch with each other? Or, if both, then which effect affects us more? Even, is it worth staying in touch with several people across the world at the cost of the person who’s standing there right in front of you? In general I think, personally, that the internet is like magic. Just like Hagrid warns Harry about magic, and how not all wizards are good, I think that no item or invention is inherently good or evil – it depends on the use we choose to put them to. That said, I believe that people love blame-shifting; makes us feel better. “It’s not my fault – the mug just slipped….”, or “I would have been able to find it if I had a better organizer”, or even, “It’s not my fault – the test was just way too hard!” We’ve always loved blaming something or someone else for our own lapses in focus or responsibility. As the saying goes, a poor workman always blames his tools. How is the internet any different? We had loners and unsociable people before the advent of the internet too, just as we had loafers and discourteous people who ignored people around them for something or someone else. It just so happens that, today, almost all our ways and means of enjoyment or killing time are linked in some way to the internet, so we’ve found a good blanket term to substitute for “laziness” and use as a scapegoat for our own lack of etiquette or priorities. A friend and I share a certain belief regarding the importance of various forms of communication, and the priority that you give people using each of them, that can be expressed like this: someone you’re texting/chatting online with <someone you’re talking on the phone with < someone you’re talking face-to-face with (which should be pretty self-evident, but doesn’t seem to be as important to people as they claim) I think everyone is aware of what their priorities are or should be, and yet chooses to disregard it. We all, as a people, see our guilt reflected in that of those who put the internet above their human connections and relationships, and, to ease our own consciences, blame their lapses on the internet. So anyway, I like to compare the internet to magic – it helps us stay in touch and learn more and do just about everything with less effort. But, like magic, it can have both positive and negative effects. At the end of the day, it’s the bond we’ve shared with those around us which’ll make our lives worth living, which will make us want to get up in the morning. Nothing should ever get in the way of that – least of all a set of cables, a circuitboard and binary code. And now, I should get off the internet and go spend some time with family. See, Ma? Writing prompts are good for me.