The Influence of the Internet on Kids: An Essay
Many people do not realize that there are about 2 million children under the age of 15 who access the Internet daily basis (Rikkers, Lawrence, Hafekost & Zubrick.2016). According to the statistics, the percentage of children using the Internet in Canada from 2014 to 2020 is varied highly. In 2015, the use of the Internet by children aged 11 years or younger reached 50.6% (Statista research department, 2016). Children, age 8 to 15 spend on average 44.5 hours per week on the Internet (Rikkers, et.al, 2016). Although the Internet helps kids to explore new information, there should be governmental measures and parental controls because the use of the Internet causes addictions, affects intellectual and physical development and exposes children to sexually explicit content.
Many people argue that the Internet helps kids to get new information and helps them to grow creatively. Probably, the major use is in the field of education. The Internet supports digital-based learning activities in the school (Rikkers, et al, 2016); and it is conducive for all students which enables them to expand their skills beyond the four walls of the classroom (Kargozari & Masshadi, 2011). Along with it online-based learning provides innovation and an engaging learning environment for kids which enhances interactions and understanding of information (Guido, 2017). Students can express their thoughts and ideas without any limitations, and they can rewind the notes, materials, and sources whenever they want to look back (Kargozari & Masshadi, 2011). The use of technology in the classroom adds a multimedia element to lessons that can effectively resonate with visual learners (Guido, 2017). Another important use of the Internet among children is it acts as the best means to express individual creativity. If kids love photography, they can find free photo editing software to create, post and sell their creativities (Guido,2017). Along with it, blogs are also the best medium for kids to openly write on a topic that inspires them or post whatever they want and comment up or share each other’s materials (Guido, 2017). Kids should grow on understanding the use of technology but its overuse causes high-level negative impacts.
Although the use of the Internet provides new information and ensures creativity to children, it creates addictive behavior on them. If the child spends much time on the Internet, they must have the chance to get compulsive behavior. According to the Canadian mental health association (n.d.), “86% of students in Ontario visit social media sites daily and about 16% spend five hours a day or more on social media. For some people, it can lead to compulsive behavior when social network sites use is restricted or stopped”. About 23% of children are addicted to the Internet. Among these 31% of males and 13% of females (Rikkers, et al., 2016). Besides, over-dependency on the Internet reduces interpersonal skills. Children found more time on social media and limits interaction between family members and peers (Rikkers, et al, 2016). It paves for the replacement of face to face or voice to voice communication by writing using an electronic medium. Rikkers, et al. (2016) argued, “the boundary between online and offline is blurred for children and considers digital access as an integral part of their life”. In the developing stage, children should have socialization with others, otherwise, it adversely affects their future life.
Moreover, use of the Internet among kinds negatively affects their physical and intellectual development. One of the physical impacts is obesity. Sedentary behavior is the only reason for the low favorable health outcomes (Rikkers, et al, 2016). Children who watch television just one hour per day were 50% more likely to overweight and higher body fat. Another important bad impact is it negatively affects cognitive development. When kids at age of 5-10 are allowed for more screen time, they would have lesser reading achievement and affects their executive function especially the ability to stay on a task for a long time (Clark, n.d.). The use of the Internet reduces the attention span of children and leads to the lowest grades in school (Gilstein, 2018). Also, children become more introverts during the developing phase. Because they find the Internet as a way to escape from painful feelings, troubling situations, loneliness and limited to themselves (Clark, n.d.). Kids find it difficult to have face to face contact with others and started to share everything with people who met through online than to people who live near to them (Aggarwal & Karande,2018). A child becomes independent by the time goes; so, they don’t dip their cognitive skills by spending more on the Internet because intelligence is needed to face the hard and cool times of life.
Most importantly, kids would be exposed to sexually explicit content through the Internet-based applications. Pornography is the most important effect that may follow by children. The child at age of 8 or 9 is coming across to sexually explicit content on the Internet or other media (Ross, 2012). Harris (2017) stated, “Child pornography offenses and incidents have exploded by more than 200% in the last decade”. Another effect is increased in sexual violence. Early exposure of children by the age of 14 to sexually explicit content may increase the risk of a child acting out sexually against other children (Ross, 2012). Also, prompt desire for more violent or deviant materials including depictions of rape, torture or humiliation (Ross, 2012). Also, the child may get into the attack of online predators. The age of 12 to 15 is considered to be risk time for the fall especially girls are more frequent victims for sexual violence (Elgersma, 2017). If people seek to act out what they see may be more likely to commit sexual assault, rape or child molestation (Ross, 2012). Overexposure to online content which sometimes makes hard situations for kids.
In conclusion, even though the use of the Internet among kids ensures some positive effects like providing new knowledge and develops creativity, it creates more negative impacts on children. It leads the children into an addiction to online content, hinders physical and intellectual development and exposes them to sexual content. The parents and government have the key roles to reduce the negative effects. Parents should get involved in the activities of their kids and the government should create strict by-laws for the protection of children. Byelaws and controls may help kids to stand in a safe zone.
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