Despite internet disadvantages, it isn’t going anywhere

The internet is an increasingly challenging environment for adults in the United States.

Sixty-four percent of American adults find it hard to separate fake news from current events, due to cluttered environments. Forty-one percent of American adults have also been harassed online with 66 percent witnessing harassment.

Lee Rainie, the director of Internet and Technology Research at Pew Research Center, gave a presentation at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology about the facts, public trust and future of the internet.

Rainie stated that there are both good and bad aspects of the internet as usage increases.

“The internet’s important to people, but as it’s become more important to people, it also has become more challenging for people,” Rainie said. “There are lots of good ways people behave online. If you look at what’s happening in Texas – just amazing outpouring of altruism and real, real help that’s taking place around the country for that community. But there are ways now that people can be miserable to each other. And one of the things that we’ve learned over time is – we’ve talked to the creators of the internet – they never thought that this bad stuff would be a big problem.”

Rainie also said that despite the negatives of the internet, it isn’t going anywhere.

“When we ask folks about the internet’s role in their lives, when they weigh the pluses and minuses – and we are very careful to walk them through both of those things – they’re still saying ‘even with all the bad stuff and all the disadvantages it brings to me, I want it, I need it,’” Rainie said. “They say that particularly about smart phones.”

The next challenge, according to Rainie, is helping positive online content outweigh the negative.