Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Online $hopping!

It seems that so many of our everyday activities, such as banking, can now be done on the Internet. Shopping is no exception, and with its increasing popularity, I am wondering what effects this is having. As well as providing people with the opportunity and convenience to both buy and sell, online shopping has some downsides. I appreciate how online shopping is making life more simplistic for a lot of people, but am also concerned with how such technologies are making us indolent. Being increasingly confined to the home is not something particularly desirable in my mind. When one would once have to actually walk or drive to go shopping, one can now sit at home and get the same result. I personally prefer the traditional method of shopping. The only time I ‘shop’ online is when I want something not available in shops, not available in NZ, or if it’s cheaper online. Fair enough. My concern is that technology will slowly continue to offer us easier ways of going about our everyday lives, to a point that is socially destroying.
The Internet is no doubt a tool overseeing masses of financial transactions. I read that 93.1 billion dollars (US) was spent in the States on online shopping over the past year (Dieringer Research Group). There is a considerably large risk of security when it comes to the exchange of money. Things such as paypal and encoding software make transactions more secure, but there is perhaps still a risk. And there are of course many more drawbacks of online shopping – fakes, not being able to physically see your purchase, postage, legitimate vendors, the impact on actual shops, etc.
Online shopping, along with other aspects of new technology, changes the way society operates. To a certain extent, I do appreciate the way that the Internet has facilitated shopping, especially for people with physical disabilities, for example. I just hope that technology like this doesn’t become too dominant for those who do not necessarily need it.
-Shannon Doherty


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