O Brave New World: The Dark Side of Cyberspace

Document Type: Original article


Professor Emeritus, Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts, San Francisco State University, United States


This article focuses on some of the negative aspects of cyberspace and
cyberculture. First, it offers an examination of the impact of our use of
social media, and Facebook in particular, on our psyches, pointing out that
users of social media can be thought of as audiences. These audiences
and information about them can be sold to marketers and advertisers.
Next, it offers a case study of a widespread social problem in Japan, more
than a million media-obsessed Japanese young men (and some young
women), the hikikomori, who shut themselves off from society for months
or years at a time. This is followed by a discussion of the impact of mobiles,
primarily smartphones, on American adolescents, some of whom text
one hundred messages a day to their friends. The effects of the enormous
amount of face-time young people spend with screens—around ten
hours per day--are also considered. Finally, there is an examination of the
impact that Amazon.com, the leading e-commerce Internet site, has had
on American shopping practices and American culture and society. The
article concludes with a discussion of the work of Hubert Dreyfus about
some negative effects of the Internet and, by implication, cyberspace and
cyberculture, which, he argues, drain life of meaning.


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