There is no doubt the Internet is one of the greatest inventions in the history of humanity. The Internet has transformed people’s lives in drastic and unprecedented ways. Some of the effects of the web are positive, while others are negative. The impact has been on multiple facets of humanity, such as health, school, politics, and commerce. The Internet has upended how many institutions operate, with some becoming obsolete. Schools, governments, places of worship, and families have all been transformed. Children are among the most affected demographics; kids have had their lives changed in the way they play, go to school, and interact with their friends. This essay will look at many ways in which the Internet has changed the lives of children.
Social Skills and Relationships
The Internet is a vast place that people can spend much time on. It has now been made possible for children to attend school and chat with friends online and play games on their electronic devices. With so much happening on the Internet involving virtual interactions, children are becoming maladapted to physical interactions; they spend less time with families and friends and do not bother to learn the art of physical relationships. According to Downey & Gibbs (2020), children who spend a lot of time playing games and on social media experienced weaker social skills growth between kindergarten and fifth grade.
However, not all internet use is harmful; when children spend their time on social media platforms, they are able to communicate with their peers. These mediums can also help kids acquire friends from around the globe when interacting with people with similar goals and interests (Talooki et al. 53). While the Internet may reduce children’s social skills, there are those with disorders who would typically not engage in physical interactions but can now have friends online.
The internet era is also called the age of information. Modern technology avails much information easily; it is natural to wonder about the potential harm of this avalanche. The average parent’s reaction to this lurking menace is to limit their child’s exposure to the Internet, with some parent groups recommending screen-time of a certain number of hours in a day. Because of the broad array of things children can do on the Internet, they can focus on the wrong things, such as playing games instead of doing homework; from this perspective, the Internet has the potential to make kids more stupid.
The web has infinite potential that should be harnessed for the good of kids. Children can use the computer to play very intricate games that enhance their cognitive faculties (Danovitch 82). The Internet is also used for social media, where kids interact with their peers and learn about the real world. A study conducted by American Cornell University on pupils from the internet generation showed that the kids had better performance despite the more complicated tests (Danovitch 82). This is a demonstration of the power of the Internet on intelligence.
Impact on Psychological Health
Technology has expanded and enriched children’s lives; it has made interaction with their friends and family easy. With the Internet, the ability to communicate and access information has become exponentially easier. There are positive impacts on children’s psychological health; for instance, some children with anxiety issues would usually be recluses, but with the web’s help, they can have virtual friends. On the other hand, research shows that mental health is a real issue for regular internet users with addiction leading the charge (Gottschalki 12). Social media and other internet mediums are associated with depression, loneliness, and low self-esteem, vital signs of mental illness. Noteworthy, passive use of social media sites has emerged as a cause for mental health problems due to the harmful nature of the content found on these platforms. Contrastingly, spending excessive hours online consumes the time one would spend on a physical task that would make the body stronger and healthier; it becomes a double tragedy for users.
This paper has looked at the various forms in which the web affects children. It has been established that while the Internet helps reclusive kids obtain friends, it can also be harmful through addiction and harmful content. It has also emerged that technology can have a positive effect on the IQ of children. Another aspect in which the Internet affects kids is the improved social skills, but the lack of physical interactions can also negate this merit. Despite the shortcomings, few people would trade the convenience of corresponding via email with sending telegrams. It would be impractical to abolish the Internet; it only needs improvement.
There is no doubt that kids constitute one of the most vulnerable groups in society. For this reason, children deserve the utmost protection from parents and the community. The solution is to build the Internet of the future that prioritizes the welfare of vulnerable groups and protects them from malicious elements. Social media companies such as Twitter have made some effort to eliminate the filth from their platforms, but a lot remains to be done, which may cost the Internet its freedom.
Danovitch, Judith H. “Growing up with Google: How Children’s Understanding and Use of Internet‐based Devices Relates to Cognitive Development.” Human Behavior and Emerging Technologies, vol. 1, no. 2, 2019, pp. 81–90.
Downey, D. B., & Gibbs, B. G. (2020). Kids these days: Are face-to-face social skills among american children declining? American Journal of Sociology, 125(4), 1030–1083. Web.
Gottschalki, Francesca. International Early Learning and Child Well-Being Study Assessment Framework. OECD Education Working Papers, 246, 2019.
Talooki, NasrinNazari, et al. “The Role of Regular Internet Usage on Social Behavior of Students.” Indian Journal of Social Psychiatry, vol. 33, no. 1, 2017, p. 53.