The internet is one the greatest revolutionary innovations of the 20th century that has become a useful platform for interaction and an excellent information resource. It has led to a radical shift in the way people lead their lives. The positive significance of the internet lies in its ability to broadcast information worldwide, provide a platform for people to disseminate data or information, and enhance online interaction and collaboration. The successful history of the internet is largely attributed to the invention and development of computers and other electronic accessories in the 1950s. Licklider J.C.R. of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was one of the key pioneers of internet networking through his online communication experiments and publications in 1962. Initial internet networks were planned and experimented between 1965 and 1980. The World Wide Web (WWW) was introduced in 1991 and followed by the invention of other internet protocols in the 1990s (Leiner n.d).
Currently, there are approximately 3.8 billion people who are actively using the internet on a global scale. This reveals that about 50 percent of the global population estimated to be 7.6 billion have access to the internet. However, most of the internet users are from Asia, with Chinese population being the biggest consumer of the internet worldwide (Leiner n.d). While the internet is a useful tool in obtaining knowledge in areas across the gamut, the internet has detrimental effects on children and their overall psychological development. This essay analyzes potential impacts of the internet by focusing on its importance and harm on children.
Types of online internet effect on children
The internet impacts children by providing them a platform for video gaming and entertainment. According to Nalwa and Anand (654), an estimated 97% of teenagers in the United States interact over the internet through video gaming. The growing trend in usage of computer games among teens has skyrocketed proceeds in the gaming industry in the country whereby a whopping $12 billion is earned per annum. Children get affected both physically and emotionally as they play games on the internet. This follows that internet games are becoming more interactive and entertaining that children need to pay extra and incessant attention to the games. While some of the games enhance physical well-being through active play, some involve violence, and others are educative especially puzzle games (O’Keeffe and Clarke-Pearson).
The internet has also brought about the revolutionary social media that has become an integral network for socialization among various peer groups in the society. Children have not been left out in this advancements through smartphones and computers. Common networks including Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, and Instagram have no age restrictions on joining hence free entry for teens who are often vulnerable. However, the internet and social media work magic when it comes to education as they significant resources for learning materials and online collaboration. It is now better than ever before for children to find solutions and information regarding their studies on the internet without going to their teachers (Holloway, Donell, et al.).
Argument in Favor of Internet Use
There is no sector that has been impacted by the internet more than that of education. Young learners now do not need to walk in into library to see through numerous shelves in search of information. This is because all educational information can easily be found on websites and online books and other materials. Learners just need to key in what they want on search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo and then a lot of links becomes available for them to get the required information. Also, it is now possible for learning institutions to offer various courses via the online platform. With the open and distance learning mode, students can study at their convenience regardless of their geographical locations (Holloway, Donell, et al.).
Then again, the internet has now become the ultimate source of entertainment in the current generation. The internet gives children the opportunity to connect with their peers at home and school whereby they can share videos, music, and pictures. Youtube and Facebook are just a few of the most used media for entertainment hence becoming household names among all age groups. Video games played over the internet are key favorites for children who spend most of their time playing on computers and other devices. Another prime source of entertainment on the internet is social media networks that provide a wide range of entertainment stuff (Holloway, Donell, et al.).
The harm of the Internet on Children
Children spend the better part of their leisure time playing video games and interacting with social media. A lot of spare time is wasted for these young people who can enhance their talents or study during this time. Spending plenty of their time on the internet also affects children’s health as they are likely to snub important physical activities. Adopt lazy lifestyles without any physical development making them vulnerable to health issues such as obesity and eye strain. Besides, physical well-being, children’s cognitive development is likely to be compromised because of the psychological effects of excessive and unrestricted internet use. Children may end up being depressed and isolated as they overuse the internet hence hazardous on their psychological well-being. Greater danger comes in as they easily get exposed to pornographic materials and cyberbullying especially by criminals on social media. As they interact on social networks, they may also find themselves engaging in the unsafe ‘sexting’ that involves sharing written adult or pornographic content (Holloway, Donell, et al.).
It is an undeniable fact that the internet might be the most important technology of all time. It serves a great resource for communication, entertainment and acquiring knowledge hence making it the best innovation. Withal, the internet presents both the good and bad side, especially for children. While the internet educates and provides room for interaction, it also makes the children users vulnerable to vices such as cyberbullying and pornography. Therefore, parents or guardians ought to take control and regulate the use of this tool among the young people. Parents should make their children on the dangers of the internet and regulate access to this platform to enhance their children’s physiological and psychological well-being.
Holloway, Donell, Lelia Green, and Sonia Livingstone. “Zero to eight: Young children and their internet use.” (2013).Available at http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/52630/1/Zero_to_eight.pdf
Leiner, Barry M. “„Internetsociety. org.“Brief History of the Internet.” (2012).
Nalwa, Kanwal, and Archana Preet Anand. “Internet addiction in students: A cause of concern.” CyberPsychology & Behavior 6.6 (2003): 653-656.
O’Keeffe, Gwenn Schurgin, and Kathleen Clarke-Pearson. “The impact of social media on children, adolescents, and families.” Pediatrics 127.4 (2011): 800-804. Available at http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/127/4/800.short