A double-edged sword: An essay on the uses and abuses of the internet

What is Internet?

The internet was born out of a technology that is modern and complex. First invented in January 1983, it is a worldwide system of computer networks that operates globally and connects users and devices all around the world.

As of 2020, 59.6% of the world’s population was recorded as Internet users. As of 2023, the number of internet users worldwide stood at 5.18 billion users, which accounts for two-thirds of the global population.

Today, the internet has become an indispensable part of our generation and like everything else in this world, there are uses and abuses of the internet. It highly influences the average consumer, businesses, and larger economies, and even plays a vital role for governments to collect and store enormous amounts of crucial data. 

This is an essay about the uses and abuses of the internet and after reading this you will not only have a detailed understanding of the internet, but you will also get detailed insights on the uses and abuses of the internet. 

How the Need and Definition of the Internet has changed over time

Today as you read this essay on the uses and abuses of internet, you will realize that as little as ten years ago, the internet was almost reserved for the privileged. During this phase, pay-by-the-hour cyber hubs or cyber cafes were a popular choice for those seeking information from the net or any other related services.

Eventually, people started using scratch cards that allowed them to avail a certain number of gigabytes for consumption on their mobile phones. As times changed, the world became increasingly digitized, and the needs of the average user changed too. Soon, the use and abuse of the internet became more mainline as the world started getting more used to it and more dependent on it. 

Today, even a standard mobile phone has become one of the most popular ways to access the web on the go. Aspects like reading emails, using Google Maps or navigation, making online payments, and communicating via several online channels daily enable and add to the functionality of modern living.

Uses of the Internet

From school-goers to business owners, on the internet, there are a plethora of uses for everyone on every spectrum. Below, we list the top 5 ways in which the internet is most widely used today.

Search Engines

    Google and other popular search engines are used to access valuable information that is available globally. These search engines are used by people of all age groups for a wide range of reasons such as – conducting research on topics that are education and academic-oriented, availing online courses, reading important news pieces, government-dispatched information and international affair, or even finding crucial information on profiles of individuals that were or are relevant across politics, history or current affairs and this makes it all the more important for us to take a step back and see what exactly are the uses and abuses of the internet.
    Search engines metaphorically work as a universe in which all things past, present, and on some occasions, even future can be accessed and travelled to from the comfort of one’s home.


    Using the internet for educational purposes has become a very common phenomenon today. While there is endless information available on almost every subject matter on the web, technological advancements have enabled people to take a few steps ahead by using popular online channels like YouTube, to run online courses. Here, individuals of a certain caliber record and upload educational sessions that are either free of cost or paid in certain cases. 

    COVID-19 was a major catalyst in forcing the educational business to go online. From there on, many people have re-imagined the power and reach of the internet and are now using it to substitute the brick-and-mortar structure of schools and colleges and it is changes like these that compel us to understand better the uses and abuses of internet.


    Payment gateways and several other modes of electronic transfers of funds via the Internet have become a mandate today. These payments are usually carried out between merchants and consumers and can be made in various ways – through debit and credit cards, banking apps, or even web pages. People can choose modes of payment depending on the specifics of their business needs or even their general preference for payment. 


    Communicating through the internet is the easiest and quickest way today to reach people across the globe. With apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, Gmail, and virtual telephony, people can connect within seconds, irrespective of how far they are located.

    Today, internet communication has replaced letters and general telecommunications like phone calls and text messaging to a great extent. As relying on the internet is not only quick and easy but also a more economical medium for most users and when you are evaluating the uses and abuses of internet, it certainly play a big role as it changes the way we communicate with our fellow human beings. 

    Social Media

    Social media is a collective term for web applications whose focus is on community-based interactions, content sharing, and collaborations. Though social media was primarily invented for individuals to stay in touch with their family and friends, its growth made it a lot more versatile over time. 

    Today, social media has many different professional uses alongside its personal ones. Businesses use social media to promote their products, and because of its enormous global traction, influencers use social media platforms to showcase their specific talents and build an audience base. Its endless bite-sized content is also a great source of entertainment, leisure, and learning. 

    Abuses of the internet

    When writing an essay on the uses and abuses of the internet, it is impossible to ignore the downsides to it which include – 

    • Weakened eyesight in case of extremely high screen time
    • A limit on one’s creative development due to high dependence on the web and Artificial Intelligence 
    • The luxury of having the internet can also be abused by indulging in forbidden and unethical webpages, pornography, and the dark web to further what is wrong or illegal
    • A simple mobile device is often sufficient for scammers to conduct illegal payment scams
    • The overuse of social media also leads to many mental health issues, such as rising anxiety and the feeling of insufficiency that arises when we accept social media standards as ultimate and true
    • Because the Internet is a digital platform, people on the web can forge identities easily for various unethical reasons

    Conclusively, the internet is a diverse place, but it cannot regulate one’s inherent moral code. In any case, the upsides of the Internet are so enormous in number that they beat the impediments effortlessly. There are numerous uses and abuses of the internet but ultimately what matters is how you use it and how well you can harness in it your growth journey. 

    Image Credit: Image by on Freepik

    Peeyush Panwar

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