Science News Online: The SocialScience News Online: The Social Net
Two contrasting schools of cyberthought offer explanations for what's happening. Optimists regard the World Wide Web and e-mail as realms for making and keeping friends, joining global communities, and exchanging ideas freely outside the bounds of oppressive government restrictions. Pessimists argue that online endeavors pull people away from real-world interactions, make them less concerned about their communities, and provide a forum for hate groups. They also charge that the Internet creates unprecedented opportunities for governments to monitor citizens' private lives.
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