National Edition

10 ways the Internet has changed your life

Published: Friday, Aug. 8 2014 12:45 p.m. MDT

Think your life would be the same without the Internet? Think again.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

The Pew Research Center reported in January that 87 percent of the American public uses the Internet. But the Internet is not just something for Americans. Thirty-four percent of the world also finds its way online.

Companies like Facebook are aiming to bring Internet access to countries without it, looking to fix the so-called "digital divide,” National Geographic reported. And, the social network actually just launched an app in Zambia for that same reason.

But we sometimes forget what it is like to live in a pre-Internet age. Much of what we do now is different because of our ability to log onto the Web and be instantaneously connected to the rest of the world.

Here are 10 ways our lives have changed since logging online:

We're connecting with people across the world more easily.

The way we view friendships has surely evolved. Social networks like Facebook and Twitter allow us to connect with people who, in a pre-Internet age, we might not have known about. Sure, people have an average of 350 Facebook friends, according to a study from Statista, but how many of those friends would they keep up with and speak to if Facebook wasn’t there to act as the middle man?

We're receiving college degrees from the comfort of our own homes.

Going to class is a thing of the past for some. Online classes are the new thing, having jumped up in attendance by 96 percent over the last five years, Campus Technology reported. But more than that, a study by SRI International for the Department of Education found that those in online classes tend to do better than those who are in physical classrooms.

We're less patient.

The Internet can bring us information, entertainment and insight in a flash, although waiting time does vary. But is the quickness killing our patience? Discovery looked into this question and found that our society is no longer patient with things, which could have an outlasting effect on our growth and progression.

“Technology is reducing our wait, removing the need for patience. Sometimes, however, the results can range from embarrassing to devastating,” Discovery reported.

We're reading the news — everywhere.

The way people get their news has changed significantly with the rise of the Internet. In 2012, for example, the Pew Research Center reported that 50 percent of Americans got their news from an online source. And in 2014, the American Press Institute found that almost 70 percent get their news from a laptop or computer, more than 50 percent get their news from a cellphone and just under 30 percent get their news from a tablet — all of which are digital platforms. News is no longer something people have on paper.

We're finding more love online.

One of the biggest things to change in the age of the Internet is the dating scene. The Boston Globe reported this week that 31 percent of people met their last date online, opposed to the 25 percent who met their last date with help of a friend and the 6 percent who met someone at a bar. People are becoming more and more comfortable logging in to find love, rather than finding someone in their actual physical life.

“If (singles) are only dating people offline, they are not opening themselves up to all the opportunities that are out there,” Julia Spira, digital matchmaker, told the Boston Globe.

We're locating our favorite movies and music more easily.

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