Impacts of Internet on Children
Impactsof Internet on Children
Informationis an imperative element in human life, which, through effective andefficient transfer and dissemination, has helped ease the sociallife. To disseminate information, man has evolved from Stone Age,through Bronze Age and Iron Age, to reach the age of enlightenment,where the internet is used as a major source and mode of passing oninformation, the absolute power of human in this era (Arnaldo, 2000).The internet is a worldwide interconnection of computer networks,which employs internet protocols to interconnect millions of devices,public, private, governmental and academic, from where users canconnect with each other. The internet is an extensive informationsource, with the information contained in shared inform of transferprotocols such as the hyper-text-transfer protocols (HTTP) or throughthe World Wide Web (WWW).
Theinternet, which dates back to 1960s when the U.S. government firstbuilt a stout fault-tolerant communication system, touches on allaspects of modern-day life this makes it an essential part of humanlife, used by all people despite their age, sex, race or religion.Internet is estimated to have more than two billion followers, withthe number growing at an exponential rate, and has revolutionizednearly all aspects of social life such as education, communication,advertising, shopping among other fields, which have embraced the useof internet in their operations. Owing to the universal acceptance ofthe internet, there has been a noteworthy change from the traditionalsocializing methods, as well as changes in leisure activities, withusers spending all their leisure on the internet. The ‘open’nature of information content from the internet has led to growingconcerns of the safety of children using the internet, prompting thispaper, which analyses internet and children, detailing advantages anddisadvantages of using the internet among the children (Davidson &Gottschalk, 2011). Children use the internet for different reasonsand in different ways, according to their ages, interests andcircumstances.
Inmost cases, children begin using computers and consequently theinternet at the age of seven to eight years. Above the age of seven,they utilize the internet in a more practical ways such asdownloading pictures for school reports, pen palling, searching forthe online encyclopedia, among other educational uses. With ageprogression and mastery of the internet as a massive informationsource, young adolescents gain from more refined internet resourcessuch as magazine`s collections, job searching, internshipapplications, newspapers and information archives, software and othertools to create multimedia reports, training/ translating foreignlanguages, among other uses. Additionally, children use the internetfor socializing the internet to them is like a telephone, which isused to converse, share photos and other items with friends and teensall over the globe via social media, such as Facebook among others(Arnaldo, 2000). The internet is also used for entertainment, justlike a movie theater, where children watch movies, download songs andget to develop their identities, relieve boredom, join subculturesand learn tips to cope with personal, emotional and interpersonalissues. The internet is also used for gaming, assisting school work,and in some cases used for inapt courses, such as pornography, onlinebullying, among other social evils. The child population isincreasing at a notable rate this is attributed to the massiveexplosion of digital devices and smart-phones in the market, whichgives children easy and accessible internet connections. Over thepast few months, applications providers have noted that there areover one billion children accessing the internet, with social media,such as face-book, twitter and Skype taking the lead in 2013,Facebook reported having over eight million children subscribersunder the age of thirteen years, which is the minimum legal year forowning a face-book account. The increased internet accessibilityreduces the parents’ and state control of content availed to theirchildren from the internet, which predisposes various online riskssuch as pornography, incitement, racism, cyber –bullying amongothers. If children are left alone with the internet, it will beharmful, subversive pervasive and the filthiest platform to operate.However, controlled internet access is requisite and helpful tochildren, since, apart from providing training services, it providesgaming and entertainment services. Internet is an imperative andbeneficial companion to children, but when accessed in a controlledenvirons, such that the content is screened before retrieval bychildren (Powell, 2007).
Theincreased eye-hand coordination improves children motor skills, whichis an imperative physical growth among children. Improved motorskills improve and change brain functionality, leading to higherintelligent quotient and critical abilities. Apart from physicalgrowth, of the internet helps to improve cognitive and emotionaldevelopments among children. This is linked to multimedia andhypertext contents from the internet, which motivates brain receptorsto develop and cope with strenuous issues. Pushing mouse andkeyboards, while starring at different sites on the internet helpschildren to exercise their fingers, equivalent to the exercise theyget from other children activities such as doodling and fingerpainting. The improved motor skills become useful in laterdevelopment stages as these children learn simple childrenactivities, such as solving puzzles and codeword. Through the use oftechnology by the children can develop fine-tune fine-motor skillsthe development occurs when a child is used in manipulating thekeyboard and controlling the mouse. The activity will give a hand andfingers the same amount of valuable workouts they get from the fingerdoodling or painting. In addition, his fine-motor movement polisheshis/ her eye-hand coordination. For example, the children are able tocatch the ball, put together a tricky puzzle as early compared tosome of his/ her age mates that were not introduced to technology.
Thetechnology can as well develop a teach cause and effect. Childrenwill always that preschooler and toddlers will play thing that theycan easily manipulate, for example, the pop-up books and anythingwith switches, levers or buttons. Therefore, the use of thistechnology work well with the children as the click a character andsomething happen. Although people have had a perspective that theinternet is related with rubbish information and materials, theinternet it is self is a self-correction and have little rubbish.Therefore, the children should be advised to avoid these rumors asthere has been no answer at all and they will hence benefit by doingso. As children interact with the internet, they are able to make alink and communicate with people all over the world. If thecommunication is safe, public spaces with clear audio and largescreens, the communication can be dramatic. The retired teachers,accountants, doctors, lawyers among other workers become available tochildren and can share their experiences in schools and work. Forexample, the ‘’the granny cloud’’ has been interacting withchildren since 2009 and has had a great advantage.
Internetis also a good channel for entertainment that help the child developskills and talents. When a child is watching a good story that is notbased on action or violence it is good entertainment to a child.Those with content of violence and action mixed with good drama andnarrative are not educative. There are websites and software that geta child draw picture, rhymes or make stories that can fostercreativity. Especially for preschooler, this can also be a channel toexpress their feelings and ideas. The technology can also boost thetalents of the children by giving him or her chance to explorepeople’s idea, culture and issues and engage in new ideas. Inaddition, the child is exposed to diversity especially ethnicdiversity. Finally, the internet can build child’s behavior bywatching good program with good role model can positively affect achild’s character.
Whiletheuseof computersandinternet can resultto theaforementioned benefits,there is noproofthatitcan changethesocialization skillsof thechildrennordoesitmakethem anysmarter.Internet iselectronicplatformwhich providesimmediatecommunicationandsocialization devicessuchas socialmediaplatforms,emails, video streaming andchat cervices. Useof theseelectronicplatforms,especiallythesocialnetworking tools,children,arein a positionto catchup with thelocalandinternationaldevelopmentsin variousfiledandsubjects(Gulley, 2003). Additionally childrenare ableto makenewfriendsanddevelopa relationshipwith otherchildrenof theagebracketfrom differentpartsof theworld.Besides, thevariousexperienceson theinternet foryoungchildrenare offeredin a veryinterestingandcolorfulwaythat increasestheinterestof a child.
Eventhoughchildrencan buildtheir socialization skillson theinternet, itis thecontent of theinternet that makesita badthing.Childrenmay be exposedto cyber bullying andpornographicmaterialsthat may invariablycorrupttheir mind(Gulley,2003). There are manysexperverts andoffenders wholookforeveryavailableopportunityto seizetheir victims.In mostcasesthy targetyoungchildrenwhoare moregullibleandhavelittleknowledgeon howto differentiatebetween whatis genuineandfake.Besides childrenare morewillingto socialize with peoplewhomtheydonotknow,makingthem vulnerableto sexpaddlers andotherblackmailers. Eventhoughinternet offersa widerangeof informationandexcitingactivitiesthat catchtheattentionof youngchildrenandenhancetheir learning,internet doesnot makechildrensmarterorimprovetheir socialization skills.Thereare numerousavenuesand siteson theinternet forchildrento squandertheir timeandlosethe prospectto learn.In realitythereis nomainadvantageof childrenwhoaccessinternet to thosethat donot havesuchopportunities.In realitybecauseof thetimespentonthe internetinsteadof otheractivitiessuchas playing andfaceto facecommunicationwith otherchildrenandadults,childrenare likelyto losetheir skillsto communicateandtalkto people(Gulley,2003).
Apartfrom hazardsrelatedwith socializing with strangersandothercyber offenders, there is noqualmthatinternet has becomean importantfactorin moldingthecharacterandconductof youngchildren.Themannerin which youngchildrenreactto their environment,adtheir relationshipwith otherpeople,their developmentandtheir behaviorandthewayin which theyinternalize information,in themodernworldis based primarilyon whattheylearnfrom theinternet (Linda, Alexander & Biocca,2003).
Effectsof NewTechnology on Communication
Communicationconstitutesan importantpartin thesociallifeof peoplesince humanbeingsare socialbeings,butwhenchildrenspendthebettertimeof their freetimeon theinternet their communicationis greatlyhampered.Internet has two basiclimitationsof theabilityto communicate.With increaseduseof internet forsocialization insteadof faceto faceinteraction,childrenare slowlylosingtheir communicationskills.In variousstatessuchas theU.S childrenstartusinginternet servicesas earlyas whentheyare four years(Gulley,2003). Additionally thelanguageusedinthe majorityof theelectronicplatformsis not formalandchildrenarenot concernedabout therulesof thelanguage.Wordsandphrasesusedin socialmediaplatformsandinthe formulationof email donot adhere to anyruleof thelanguage,andwhileadultsthismay havelittleinfluenceon adults,theeffectson childrenareprofound.At thisage,there are learningdifferentaspectsof language,pronunciation,spellingsanduseof languageinthe differentsettings.At school,theirtutorsintroducethem to theformallanguagewhileallalong theyhavebeenexposedto informallanguagein socialsitesandon theinternet. Theeffectis thatchildrenare findingitmoreandmoredifficultto constructcorrectsentencesandwordsusedinthe formalsetting.
Theeffectsof internet on youngchildrenare complex,with bothadvantagesandrisks.Theeffecto internet depends on whattechnology is applied,forwhatpurposeandthefrequencyof visitingthesites.Manyof thechildrenusethe internetto browsesites,accessinformationfortheir schoolassignments,playgames,posttheir personalprofileon socialmediaplatformssuchas Facebook andTwitter, chat andparticipatein differentonline forums.Thoughmanyparentsencouragetheir childrento visitsitesthat offerconstructiveinformation,accordingthem unobserved hourshabitually permitthem to gooff track(Gulley,2003). Parentsmay be temptedto thinkthatyoungchildrenbelow theageof ten are onlysearchingforinformationto completetheir homework,butin realitythekidsmay be spendingmanyhoursvisitingunsuitablesiteswith informationencouragingdrugabuse,pornographicvideos andotherformsof violentactivities.Childrenexposedto suchimpropercontents may experiencebehavioral expressiondisorders(Sawmy, 2013). Additionally childrenthat spendtoomuchtimeon theinternet, especiallyon sitesthat haveinappropriatecontents may losetheir capacityto developa realrelationshipandestablishfaceto facecommunication.
Thereare thousands of learningmaterialsonline thatchildrencan accessto extractinformationon varioussubjects.Whentheyencountera challenging probleminthe classroomtheyturnto internet to gatheranswers.Itis not a surpriseto findchildrenin sixth gradeusinga calculatorto gathersolutionsimplearithmeticproblems.Internet has thuskilledcreativity andhamperedinnovation,as childrendevelopa beliefthatall their problemscan besolvedby theinternet. Besides, in theUnited States a numberof deathshavebeenlinkedto useof internet. Whenchildrenin highschoolcannot gathertherightanswerstheywant,theycannot turnto their parentsandorteachersforhelpsince internet has quashedtheir communicationandinteractionability.Somegetdepressedto theextentof committingsuicide(Atwood, & Gallo, 2011).
Thelackof faceto faceinteractionhas beenfoundto hamperthespeedat which childrengainknowledge onhowtointeractand communicatewithotherchildren’sandadults.In theelectronicplatform,thereis nopersonalcontactbetween thedispatcher andtherecipientof theinformation(Atwood,& Gallo, 2011). Majorityof young children and young adults are engrossedon their personalcomputerformorehoursthan theyare spendingwhenplayingwith otherchildrenandmeetingandinteracting with people.Theyare overly engagedin online chats andtalkingto colleaguesandthisinhibitstheir abilityto learnfrom others, communicateandbuilda relationship.
Excessiveuseof computersandinternet has profoundeffectson friendshipandfamilyrelationshipthatchildrenare ableto build.Interactionwith otherchildrenaffectstheir interpersonal skills,self-confidence,andsocialcompetence.By thetime,theyreachage7 childrenspendmostof their timewith their peersas theydowith their guardians(Sawmy,2013). In theprivatenatureof online activities,childrenare predisposedto developing‘electronicfriendship’with their personalcomputersin lieu of friendshipwith otherchildrenof their age,andthissignificantly hinderstheabilityto developinterpersonal skills.Researchhas indicatedthatmorethan 20% of childrenin developedstateshavea personalcomputerin their bedroomis a keyindicatorthatin internet,inactualsensemay be usedto pacifyloneliness.Linda et al (2003) foundthatmorethan 60% of thetimespentwith a computerby children,is spentalone
Themostunfortunatethingis that,unlikeadults,childrendonot knowrealizethattheyare beingbogged down into an unrealworldin thevirtualfield.Inevitablythismay havedireeffectson theconfidence,engagementandrelationshipwith therestof thepeoplein therealworld.Additionally, theadoptionof sedentarylifelinkedwith technology, especiallycomputercan leadto healthproblems.Physicalactivitiesplaya significantboth in thephysicalandmentaldevelopmentof a child.Sportingactivitiesandotheroutdooreventshavebeensubstitutedby computers.Thishas ledto poorgrowthandmuscledevelopment,andin therecentpastthishas beencloselyassociatedwith healthproblemssuchas obesity andoverweight which are theleadingcauseof type2 diabetes in children,intheUnited States of American.
Theinternet offers immense information, where children acquire relevantinformation relevant for their learning. A safe and well organizedinternet, in an organized training set-up, imparts children withvital reading and writing at tender age, compared to traditionallearning methods. The internet allows children to learn everything,where some, learn almost everything on their own, owing to theincreased interaction with peers and other internet users. Childrenuse the internet to access vital information and find answers toquestions which they would find uncomfortable sharing with theirparent, thereby promoting learning, social life and cohesiveness.Additionally, children working in groups around computers to researchand perform various learning courses learn and get fast and accurateanswers, through sharing with their peers. The internet employsanimations and pictures in educating youngsters making it the mosteffective tool in educating children, compared to contemporaryeducation techniques. Pictures and animations incorporated on theinternet learning have a long-lasting impact on children education,since abstract concepts are vivid compared to figurative education(Akdeniz, 2008). This has made the internet the preferred tool toeducate youngsters all over the world. The internet offers vastglobal information resources, prepared and compiled over time, withumpteenth updates, making it a timely source of accurate information.It offers broad information about higher education opportunities,which children users would find helpful in their quest for highereducation. Additionally, though there is no concrete research,increased internet among children improves eye-hand coordination,through regular use of the mouse and keyboard.
Internetmay serve as an educatingtool when childrenvisitsitesthat willaddknowledgeandinformationof varioussubjects,butthisis not thecasewiththe majorityof childrenandyoungadults.Thecomputerhas beentransformedinto anotherchildrentoy,andmostof theactivitiesthat constitutetimespentonline areusedin playinggamesandsocializing inthe socialplatformssuchas Facebook,Twitter andMySpace(Linda,Alexander & Biocca, 2003). Despite all theadvantagesthat emanatefrom introducingchildrento computerandinternet at as earlyas possible,there are manydisadvantagesthat are connectedto toomuchexposure.In thepastchildrenwould participatein differentphysicalactivitiesbothin schoolandat home.In suchinteraction,theywould learnhowto communicatewith otherpeople,howto socialize andat thesametimetheywould builda relationshipwith otherchildrenandadults.Howeverwith thechangingenvironmenttheyfoundthemselves overly engrossedin online activities,suchas gaming, socializing andchattingin varioussocialplatforms,which consumes most of their learning time.
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