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The social and economic implications of the use of computers

Asked by sanan | Oct 15, 2002 | GCSE Level > Computing > Revision
sanan asks:

I want all my answers of the questions(below) in a concise way and the answers should be up to the A* STANDARD (PROBABLY IT IS BETTER IF THE ANSWERS ARE IN BULLET POINTS ).

What are the social and economic effects on people and organisations associated directly with the application, on other individuals and, on society in general?

What are the economic reasons for the use of computers?

What are the changes to existing methods, products and services?

etutor answers:
I can help you with the answers to the questions but I am unable to give you any guarantee of marks as I am not an examiner. I am here to assist you when you get stuck on questions or need guidance with your work.

The applications of ICT are usually of great benefit to us in but there are social issues that need to be considered.
Society is dependent on computers; it is impossible to function without them.
Failure can result in loss of life or a company going out of business

For example:

Access to information -Computer viruses and hacking is illegal. Software Piracy deprives developers of their lawful rewards.

Educational tools - Teaching facilities via the Internet allows access to a worldwide information exchange.

Information controls - The interconnection of systems leads to an loss of privacy with personal details bought and sold, resulting in junk-email.
Security systems recognise and monitor individuals. This may help in the detection and prevention of crime. Information might be used unscrupulously.

On-line banking & ATM - The introduction of ATM's save queuing at the bank and allows cash to be withdrawn at any time. Online banking takes this a step further and most transactions can take place without visiting the high street branch.

On-line shopping - Online shopping enables the householder to have all their items delivered and so no longer need to go into the high street or supermarket.

The change in employment patterns - The nature of jobs has changed. Some jobs have been lost. Jobs have been created in computer sales, support and software development. Work that required months or years of training can be performed with fewer skills and computer support.

The negative effect on people socially interacting. - Computers cause decreasing personal contact. Communication is via E-mail, surfing the net and spending hours working or playing on a computer. The simulated violence portrayed by computer games. There is a worry that desensitising children by the exposure to violent computer games will result in more crime.


The banking system is totally dependent on IT

  • Details of payments made from the account
  • Details of deposits
  • Loan details
  • Overdraft limit
  • Details of when and where you used your cash point card
  • Information about standing orders and direct debits

Stock control, the use of spreadsheets to model future trends and sales and the maintenance of customer records all require the use of computers.

These systems depend on computer-controlled telephone exchanges and satellite technology.

Scanners and radiotherapy machines, contain microprocessor control circuitry.
Computerised Patient's records are stored for appointment and prescription details including:

  • Allergies
  • Current treatment
  • Dates and type of inoculations
  • Medical History
  • Repeat Prescription
  • Test results

Pupil Records

  • Parents contact details
  • Emergency contact details
  • Previous schools attended
  • Examination results

(Data is collected every time you use a loyalty card)

  • How much you spend each week
  • What you buy
  • What days and times you visit the supermarket


  • Air traffic control systems rely on computers.
  • Signalling systems on railways
  • Microprocessors are used to control vehicle performance


A large number of organisations store personal data about you and your family including names, addresses and telephone numbers.

Benefits of ICT
Air-traffic control
Credit card processing
Easier Personal identification
Home working
Improved Crime prevention and detection
Increased leisure time
Mundane, time-consuming jobs now done automatically
No need for cash
Reduced energy consumption,
World wide Communication

Disadvantages of ICT
Credit can lead
Illegal information and images available via the Internet
Increasing numbers of 'couch-potatoes'
Lost privacy
New jobs for highly skilled people
Software piracy

I hope this information is of use to you.

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