Is the Internet Good or Bad?

Without the web, we'd probably be in better shape. But then again, we'd have to pay for porn.

What would we do without the internet? We'd probably be in better shape and know how to interact with strangers in the supermarket. Of course without the web, we also would've never had the exquisite pleasures of seeing that monkey piss in its own mouth or the chance to cultivate crops on FarmVille. Frankly, it's a toss up. Is the internet good because it gave us all those free porn sites that have freed us from having to brave the creepy neighborhood sex shop for skin flicks? Or is it bad because the fat Italian guy who owned the sleazy sex shop is now on food stamps? We couldn't make up our mind, so we asked a bunch of pedestrians in the Big Apple whether they thought the internet deserves a thumbs up or a thumbs down.

A dude, industrial designer: Yeah, I think the internet is good. I always have to look stuff up for work like new materials and new processes and answer questions like how big is a calf’s knee? I never know what they’re gonna ask me.

What other weird questions have you had to answer?
Once, I did some research on the design for the geometry of drill points. I found some old guy in Wisconsin. He was like Dr. Drill. He had his own little website on drill-point design.

Was it accurate information?
That’s the hard part. You have to always look, because 95 percent of the crap out there is just that.

Does the good of the internet outweigh the bad?
It’s like meeting people. 95 percent of the people you meet are not worth talking to. There’s no difference.

OK. Thanks.

Ethan, 14, skateboarder: I use the internet for watching skateboard videos and going on Facebook. I also look at whatever my friends think is cool.

So what are your innermost thoughts about the internet?
Ethan: It’s good. It’s a great way to keep in touch with everybody and read up on current events.

Are you up-to-date on current events?
Ethan:Sometimes. I’ll read whatever is the headline on my homepage. I’ll be like, “Oh, that happened.” Then I’ll know what happens. Know what I’m talking about?

For sure.
Derek, 15, NY skateboarder: For me, the internet helps me get through the day. And like he said, we watch a lot of videos—skate videos and a lot of porn.

How did people survive for thousands of years without the internet? Without porn?
I have no idea. I wouldn’t be able to live without porn, skate videos, and Facebook. I mean life must’ve been hard without porn.

Phil, woodworker: I mostly use the internet to talk to clients and to manage my website.

What are some bad aspects to the internet?
I don’t really like Facebook. I don’t like judge the people who use it, but I would just spend time on there reading and looking at things I don’t care about.

Is the internet necessary in this day and age?
I mean I grew up like half of my life without it. I don’t know if it’s necessary or more like something that just happened.

Anything else?
One strong point is it allows people around the world to just learn about each other, which makes it hard to hate other people.


Ivan, 18, Computer Science student: Internet is a big part of my life. I work for a telecommunications company as a software developer, and I also use internet for research and social networking.

How would you define the negatives and positives of the internet?
I don’t think it can really be judged as being negative or positive. It’s just a presence that’s there not to be judged by anyone. But, I’m always connected. I’m a data addict.

Any particular website recommendations?
Ever since I discovered Reddit, I pretty much stopped surfing the internet.

How important is the internet in our day and age?
It is absolutely necessary.? You cannot live in this world without internet. If you’re technological, there’s a lot money in it. Like in web development, companies pay thousands of dollars for a webpage. It’s ridiculous.

Lisa, 26, teacher: I think the internet is good. I use it a lot for research, for class, and for communication with people I don’t see that often from high school.

Jemaine, 24, musician and screen printer:I think the internet is good. I use it for all of the said reasons that she just mentioned, and I like to illegally download music.

Do you share your own music?
I do practice what I preach. There’s Wikipedia and YouTube and that’s pretty much all you need.

Wikipedia is probably not your best resource.
It’s true.

Lisa: But we’re tourists here, so walking around I can just take out my phone and look up an address or find something to do.

Where are you guys from?
Lisa: Louisiana. We’re just traveling.

If you could change something about the internet, what would you change?
Jemaine: I’d take away all the advertisements at the beginning of YouTube videos. 

Q, sanitation worker: I feel like the internet is good and bad. It’s useful because you get to find people you lost contact with years ago.

Bernard, sanitation worker: It’s like there’s nothing sacred anymore. Your life is an open book. I don’t deal with Facebook. I don’t deal with Google. I don’t deal with any of that.

Do you think it’s absolutely necessary nowadays?
In a way it is. It’s the computer age right now. It’s a billion dollar business. 

What sites do you generally use?
Q:I’m on this site called Tag. It’s like a dating joint. You meet people from everywhere. I can talk to someone that’s all the way in LA, when I’m in New York. That’s a good thing, you know.

Bernard: I like shopping. If I want to buy my significant other some Victoria’s Secret, they might have a big sale on their site. I’ll be the first to know.

Does the good outweighs the bad?
Q: The only reason it’s bad is because it has hackers and other bullshit. That’s why they have How to Catch a Pedophile [sic]. It started from the internet. You talk online to somebody and then they’re trying to meet in person. Why do you think they put that on TV now? Because they had so much grief on the internet from that.

Previously - What’s Your Favorite Drug?