World Internet Day: this is how our lives have changed

Covid-19 has further highlighted the importance of the Internet in our lives and emotional well-being

On May 17, World Internet Day is celebrated to publicize its possibilities and promote its accessibility

We join this event by analyzing seven aspects of our lives that have been radically transformed thanks to the Internet

The Internet has revolutionized almost all areas and has become the epicenter of our day to day. We use it for almost everything: to work, communicate, read the newspaper, buy movie tickets or order a pizza at home.

Currently, this technology is being the driver of social change, since it strips us of geographical restrictions and creates a new globalized reality. The Covid-19 crisis has made the important role of information technology even more palpable and communication for work and educational development, but also for psychological and emotional well-being.

With the aim of publicizing the possibilities offered by new technologies and promoting their accessibility, World Internet Day was celebrated for the first time on October 25, 2005 at the proposal of the Internet Users Association. That same year, the Information Society Summit held in Tunisia took place, which raised the option of designating the May 17 as World Telecommunications and Information Society Day, so the Internet Day was also moved to that date.

From NIUS we join this event by analyzing seven aspects of our life that have taken a 180 degree turn thanks to the irruption of the Internet.

1. Communication

The effects of the Internet can be seen especially at the level of social communication. Since the appearance of email and later, of SMS and messaging services such as WhatsApp, we are used to being permanently connected and immediately. This favors communication between people beyond the distance, although it can also lead to misunderstandings.

On the other hand, social networks have become quite a phenomenon. According to data from IAB Spain, 87% of Spanish Internet users between the ages of 16 and 65 use social networks, which represents 25.9 million people. WhatsApp, in addition, continues to be the most used, followed by Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

The use of social networks has created a new communication dynamic in which we can publicly get our messages and experiences to anyone on the planet creating new global trends and social movements.

2. Interpersonal relationships

Closely linked to communication, the way we relate to one another has changed enormously. With the pandemic, this reality has become more noticeable, since to be in contact it was no longer necessary to physically go to a cafeteria, but simply to make a video call from home.

We are surely at a time in history in which we are more connected with our loved ones and which opens the doors for us to meet hundreds of people from all over the world, something that without the Internet would be unimaginable. In this line, the use of dating applications to find love is the order of the day: In the United States 40% of heterosexual couples meet on the Internet and half of young people use these apps, according to data from Pew Research.

3. Entertainment

In 2019 The Internet first dethroned television as a star entertainment platform, with an average consumption of 170 minutes per day per person compared to 167 minutes on television, according to the consultancy Zenith Media.

The times of going to the video store or arcades are far behind. Thanks to the Internet of Things, we have our own movie theater and on demand, video games, music, live events, podcasts or social networks. And all without leaving the comfort of our sofa.

Likewise, the Internet is also present when we carry out cultural activities away from home: it allows us to buy tickets without having to print them or having to waste time queuing.

4. Access to information

Until 2003, humanity had generated five exabytes of information throughout its history. In 2011 alone, 1,800 exabytes were generated, according to researchers Hardy and Williams.

Thanks to the Internet there has been a democratization of information. A few centuries ago knowledge was only available to a few, but with the emergence of the web we can know everything that interests us freely with just a few clicks.

5. Consumption habits

E-commerce turnover in Spain reached 12 million euros in the second quarter of 2020, according to CNMCData. Currently we can buy practically everything virtually: clothing, food, appliances, trips, tickets, among others.

6. Work

Work no longer depends on a physical location, but is an activity that can be done from any time and place. Teleworking has almost doubled in Spain since the confinement, going from 16% to 30%, according to the BBVA Foundation.

This important change that we are perceiving, especially as a result of the pandemic, represents a reduction in the structural costs of companies, an opportunity for family reconciliation and another step towards a global and interconnected model.

7. Education

The Internet offers endless academic opportunities that foster a new social reality based on lifelong learning and facilitate global collaborative dynamics for the work of the future. Today, anyone can change their career path or acquire new skills regardless of their age or geographic location.

In Spain, two out of ten people consider that education will be exclusively online within five years, while half believe that it will be both online and in person, according to Statista data.

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