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School of Comm.'s "Week Without the Web" is unrealistic experiment

By Michael Margavitch, Columnist


"It's a great tool," said sophomore Brock Sumner.

"It is my life, and I freak out whenever I don't have access to it," said another sophomore, Karen Gong.

These students are referring to the Internet. When Hofstra's School of Communication goes without the Internet this April 4-8 during Week Without the Web, students like Sumner and Gong will be solely tested. Week Without the Web, or WWW, highlights how dependent young people are on this technology.

The Internet holds definite advantages. What once took a good amount of time with encyclopedias now takes much less time with search engines. The Internet is also available for any users at the touch of a fingertip at all times, unlike libraries, which are only open at specified hours.

"There are a lot of distractions like Facebook and YouTube that can distract from work," said Sumner.

Gong even went so far as to say the Internet is detrimental to her studies. "I would have to say that the Internet is not the best research tool, because even though it's supposed to be helping me, it is more of a distraction than anything."

Gong remembered life before frequent Internet use as difficult. She described a project in seventh grade in which she had to read a map's latitude and longitude without using the Internet. "I couldn't read the map for the life of me. I didn't get it." However, Gong said she would be prepared to do assignments if the Internet was to ever go down. "I guess my only option would be to go to the library. If the library was closed and I had a short time to complete the assignment, I would use an encyclopedia." 

Students agreed that they would have a hard time transitioning from a world with the Internet to a world lacking it.

"The Internet has been around for over 15 years now, and people have become so used to it," said Sumner.

"I think everybody would have a hard time," concurred sophomore Erica Schwaninger. "The transition to no Internet would be harder than my parents' transition from no Internet to Internet, because I grew up on it. It would be more difficult to have something taken away from you than having a new type of technology added."

Schwaninger will have to test out how hard this transition is in the Week Without the Web, as she is a School of Communication major. "I think I can get through the week," she said. "I could not live without the Internet for the rest of my life. I think the week will be difficult enough." 

For technology that rose to prominence a little over 15 years ago, people are already very dependent on the Internet. Even though users acknowledge many faults, the sheer speed and instant gratification that comes with Internet will have people glued to their computer screens for years to come.

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