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The Impact of the Internet on Children

By xjn828 May 21, 2013 1959 Words
The Impact of the Internet on Children

Introduction & Background
With the advanced development computer technology, currently, the internet is prevalently spreading nearly everywhere in our life, work and study. In fact, the internet is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the internet can help us to handle lots of complicated matters and make people broaden their horizons through the internet. However, according to the research, most of the people, especially lots of children, are influenced by the internet negatively in terms of time management, addiction to the online games, free pornographies and adult films, physical health and family relationships. Therefore, we must come up with some solutions which based on parental control and parental support to figure out these problems of the internet on children.

Specific negative impacts of the internet on children
One of the negative impacts of the internet on children is disrupting the time management in their normal life. As mentioned in the article “Internet parenting styles and the impact on Internet use of primary school children,” the authors Valcke, Bonte and Rots (2010) indicate that children cannot schedule time properly because of the internet disturbance. According to a sociological survey based on a group of questions given to some of Romanian parents (Muresan, Catalano & Bocos, 2010), 16.73% of the parents think their children spent lots of time on the internet, and less time on other outdoor activities, and even sometimes they did not do their homework and copied other children’s homework, instead. In fact, more and more children are psychologically over dependent on the internet because many people call current generation as “digital natives” or “net generation” (Prensky, 2001). Not surprisingly, many children have accessed to the internet when they are in childhoods. “More than 80% of family has at least one or two computers; even some children have their own computers” (Muresan 2010). Moreover, more than half of the parents think that the main purpose of the computer is surfing the internet for information and they take it for granted that children can access the internet. As a result, children spend more time on the internet, and less time on the other activities in recent years. As a matter of fact, it is a very common phenomenon that current generation is the first generation that experiences the world primarily by means of the internet. The second negative impact of the internet on children is an addiction to the online games, free pornographies and adult films. We just call it “net addiction”. In their article, the three authors Muresan, Catalano and Bocos(2010) illustrate that 34.95% of students like to play online games in their spare times. In another article, “Negative effects of the internet”, Wilkinson (2011) points out that more and more children become addicted to the internet. To be more specific, she mentioned that the internet houses more free pornographies and adult films which are easier to for children acquire than before although over 50% of parents said they control their children’s activity at the computer (Muresan 2010). In fact, the most important part of the parental control is not only control but offer help to children when they surf the internet. However, the majority of parents do not pay attention to internet education on children because “only 13.2% of children receive guidelines by their parents” (Valcke, Bonte, Wever & Rots, 2010, P456). As a result, an increasing number of pornographies make it much easier for children to access adult films and absorb sexual images because there are more than 80% of the primary school children saying they are at unsafe internet usage (Valcke 2010). To some extent, the internet controls children’s life by pornography which makes it become a ubiquitous nature of thing in their normal life (Wilkinson, 2011). Therefore, more and more children fall victim to this negative emotional impact due to an unregulated online game, a harmful exposure to pornography and an uncontrolled publication of adult film on the internet. In the article “The effects of behavioral inhibition/ approach system as predictors of Internet addiction in adolescents”, the author Park, Lee, Jung and Choi (2012) raise a possible explanation to the children’s net addiction is the anxiety. That means the more anxiety to the internet, the less self-control on the access to the internet. Therefore, most of children are negatively influenced by an increasing number of online games, free pornographies and adult films, thus affecting their physical health. Besides an addiction to the online games, free pornographies and adult films, physical health is another major negative impact of the internet on children. Can you imagine sitting in front of a computer screen continuously for a long time without any food and water? In fact, it is a very common scene to most of children when they at the computer, especially for surf the internet. Therefore, lack of physical activity, children are easily getting in lots of unhealthy lifestyle even connected to the diseases such as obesity, eyesight problem and spine problem (Valcke 2010).Specifically, the more time in front of the computer screen, the more harmful computer radiation to children’s physical health. Moreover, more than 27% of the parents think the internet caused medical problems such as sight and spine problems among their children (Muresan 2010).In recent years, although governments in different nations energetically develop national fitness programs which cause more and more people interest in exercise, the majority of parents would like to pay more attention to children’s school grades rather than the awareness of the need for children’s physical health. Consequently, an increasing numbers of children choose to stay at home and surf the internet instead of participating in outdoor activities. Last but not the least, family relationships are gradually broken by exposure to the internet. At present, more and more children and adults would like to make net friends instead of friends in real life (Wilkinson, 2011). Not surprisingly, more and more children rely on networking communication with others thus having flaw in face-to-face communication with their family members, especially with their parents. If children spend most of time on the internet, they will spend less time talking with their parents in real life. It is another symptom of poor time management. Without the internet, children largely depend on their parents to verify what they see, hear and feel (Verdick, 2012). However, with the appearance of lots of uncontrolled information on the internet, children prefer to talk with cyber friends and believe what they see, hear and feel on the internet. It also corroborate the anxiety is an explanation to the children’s net addiction Therefore, children who keep online are less likely to identify what is real and what is not, and they are unable to sense reality in the virtual world. As a matter of fact, children are always curious about new things even feel excited about making unreal friends on the internet while ignoring the real relationships between parents and themselves.

You may have a question?
Although this paper focuses more on the negative impacts of the internet on children, some people may argue that the internet plays a significant role in children’s life because it brings children a lot of convenience. In the article “The impact of Computer and Internet on the Young Students- An Ascertaining Research,” the authors Muresan, Catalano and Bocos (2010) think the biggest benefit of the internet for the children is the development of the mental abilities which include thinking, logic and observation, followed by an improvement of general culture and the interest for new things (21%). Children can no doubt absorb a large amount of knowledge on the internet. For example, when meeting difficulties on study, they search the internet for help, which is convenient, fast and easy. However, the internet brings children more hazards than benefits. For example, children are psychologically over dependent on the internet instead of challenging themselves in study, work and life. Therefore, the negative impacts of the internet on children exceed the benefits of the internet.

Solutions to the negative impacts of the internet on children To offset the negative impacts of the internet on children mentioned above, there are two major ways: parental control and parental support. “The definition of parental styles is the number of involvement and strictness controlled by parents to deal with their children” (Valcke 2010). In terms of parental control, four authors Valcke, Bonte, Wever and Rots (2010) indicate that parents could restrict the internet use of their children by means like installing filter software, checking internet log files and drafting internet usage rules. Unfortunately, only 26.3% of parents do these jobs regularly (Valcke 2010), with few practical effects on the resolution to the children Internet issue. Compared with effects of the parental control, parental support is a more effective measure to deal with the problems. Firstly, more than 60% of the parents talk with their children about the internet (Valcke 2010). This means the majority of the parents prefer to communicate with their children, and give support at different levels. Additionally, parents expect to create a safe and private internet environment for children so that they can accept parents’ advice actively instead of passively. Therefore, guiding children with respect to the internet usage and supporting them without strict limits are more effective than control and limit their access to the internet strictly to deal with the problems of internet.

The explosive growth of the internet is transforming children’s daily life. The specific negative impacts of the internet on children are clearly presented in this paper. In fact, these impacts of the internet on the children’s emotional, cognitive and social development are beginning to be highly valued. The parents, being aware of these negative impacts of the internet on children, have attempted to solve the problems by parental control and parental support. However, the majority of the parents understand their roles in children’s internet usage but unfortunately only a few become aware of the correct guidance in their children’s internet usage. People need educational distributions and legislation to maximize the positive impacts of the internet on children. If people managed well, internet can improve children’ time consciousness, enhance self-protection awareness, maintain physical health and deepen family relationships. But for these positive results to occur, as a society, people must learn how to confront these challenges in the internet development.

Muresan, E, Catalano, H & Bocos, M (2010). The Impact of Computer and Internet on the Young Students- An Ascertaing Research. Universităţii Petrol-Gaze din Ploieşti.Retrieved from

Park, S. M., Park, Y. A., Lee, H. W., Jung, H. Y., Lee, J. Y. & Choi, J, S (2012, August 20). The effects of behavior inhibition/ approach system as predictors of Internet addiction in adolescents.Elsevier. Retrieved from

Valcke, M, Bonte, S, Wever, B. D. & Rots, I (2010, February). Internet parenting styles and the impact on Internet use of primary school children.Elsevier. Retrieved from

Verdick (2012). Negative Effects of Internet Usage on Child Development.Verdick. ORG. Retrieved from

Wilkinson, M (2011, September 09).Negative effects of the Internet. Helium. Retrieved from

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