Can the Internet Help Us Become Better People?

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Staff Writer Other ,,,,,,,

They say with great power comes great responsibility [and by they, we mean Spidey’s uncle]. The greater the power, the greater the responsibility.

As humans, what greater power do we have, than technology; and what greater responsibility than humanity? Thinking back, I remembered these debates we would have in English class [do you?]:

‘Technology: Good or bad’ or ‘Technology: A necessary evil.’

It would make me smile – our initial skepticism of what is now indispensable. The clear black and white dichotomy was always a false one. With an entire generation of kids who never knew a world without handheld phones and touch screens, technology is winning – and people are realising: “Hey! Wait! I can save people with this.”

And they can! Much more than ever before. One of the biggest catalysts responsible for our increasingly humanitarian view is, of course, the internet. A global connective platform that allows any and all ideas to find a backer.

1. Progressive Ideas: They’re catching on

Gender equality, racial representation in television/movies and elitism has a host of new whistleblowers.

The movement for racial and gender equality have found faster mediums with the quick spread of ideas online. Thanks to the internet, we all know about Emma Watson’s rousing speech at the UN:

2. Compassion: The will to help is so much closer to helping

Thanks to the internet, several charities have sprung up online that would have had no place in an older, less digital world.

Take for instance www.Freerice.com, a charitable organisation under the United Nations World Food Programme that caters to an audience unreachable without the internet. It caters to everybody.

Visitors to the site can answer a simple quiz in their own time. Every correct answer donates 10 grains of rice to the UNWFP. Multiply this with the hundreds to thousands of people answering hundreds and thousands of quizzes and you’ve got a substantial amount of food that would never have seen the light of day.

Gone are the days where you would donate AED 100 after winning the local lottery. Now, you can donate AED 2-3 any time you want from the safety and sanctity of your toilet seat. This unrivalled convenience is what allows the modern charity to make a much bigger impact in the world than previously possible.

We come into contact with so many stories that cry our for our compassion – do we glance at them and move on or do they move us enough to act?

3. Education: Informed individuals are better individuals

When well informed individuals, with critical thinking ability, are told about the need for alternative energy sources, shown evidence for climate change and dwindling agricultural resources and water shortages, they may or may not be convinced, but at least we’re holding up our end of the deal – using tech for good.

Like everything else, it’s up to you

To be honest, there is no clear right and wrong here – There’s only what you do with what you’ve been given. You can leave conniving YouTube comments and stick to your opinions or you can open your mind to new ideas. You can binge-watch TV shows all day long or you can watch videos that will teach you something new.

You can scroll through your newsfeed while half-listening to a friend, or you can have a long conversation with them about what you read online. It’s up to you.

There’s a whole other world out there made possible by emergent technologies. We have clean fuels, desalination, genetic engineering of plants that help us leave this world a little better than we found it.

Technology is no evil. It’s our ally in a war against ourselves. A tool that gives us the chance to do good we could never do before. There’s any number of initiatives out there for us to help.

So, go ahead pick your poison [pun intended].

This list is incomplete – tell us about other ways you can use the internet for well-being.

More importantly, tell us what your favourite technological innovation for wellbeing is in the comments below. Do you know of any charities that have taken the online route to make it easier to raise funds? Bring them to light in our comments section [We love to help].