Modern children under the age of thirteen are growing up in a world where the internet is in their daily lives. Approximately thirty million children and adolescents go online annually, making them the largest groups of people to rely on it. The internet has grown to be a central part of life utilized in homes, schools, businesses, libraries among others. For children, the use of the internet is in doing schoolwork, communicating, playing video games, watch movies, and listen to music. The heavy reliance on it, consequence in both positive and adverse effects.
The use of the internet by children influences their academic outcomes positively. The internet facilitates access to additional information on the different subjects taught in class. When children spend time reading the wide array of materials, they become better acquainted with their classes, and this improves their performance. Constant reading of documents on the internet also, improves their reading skills, further accentuating their performance. Moreover, the internet enhances children’s creativity as the wealth of information on projects and tutorial materials boosts the skills of doing projects and making presentations. Also, the playing of video games elicits the development of visual skills, teamwork and hand-eye coordination, skills crucial in learning.
The internet has changed the way children communicate. Apart from hanging out with friends, the internet has introduced instant messaging, email, chatting and social media as other avenues of communication. Thus, it has developed the communication skills of children, has aided in fostering of friendships with others, as well as, gaining vital communications skills essential in the job market in the future. Contrary, the alteration of the dynamics of communication by the internet has negatively influenced children. The overreliance on communicating through it has led to children abandoning traditional methods of communication such as face-to-face interactions. Consequently, resulting in strained relationships with friends, families, and difficulties in communicating efficiently in school due to stunting in the development of communication skills.
Internet use by children affects their health. In the current society, more children are spending a lot of their time in front of computers and on their phones. The behavior reduces time spent engaging in physical activities, thereby eliciting a sedentary lifestyle that increases the development of obesity, carpal tunnel and straining the eyes. The over extended use of the internet results in the interruption of sleeping patterns and onset of epilepsy seizures due to flashy images on various web pages. Moreover, increased internet use results in depression and isolation. Children that heavily rely on the utilization of the internet develop feelings of loneliness and depression because of lack of human contact and emotional connections, making them prone to boredom and depression.
Internet use affects children psychologically. The web exposes children to both good and bad information. For one, they access highly violent video games and dangerous programs. Such materials glorify violence through game plots that utilize weaponry such as guns and suicide vests, blood, use of drugs, offensive language, and disturbing pictures. When a child’s mind that has not entirely developed to discern the difference between right or wrong behavior is tainted with such information, it results in aggressive behavior, bullying of others and cynicism about the worst crimes of the world such as robbery, murder, and use of drugs. Moreover, the constant use of hateful messages, lies and insults and presence of pornographic materials erodes their minds leading to addiction to these vices.
The presence of the internet enslaves the current generation of children under the age of thirteen years. It may pose positive consequences such as increased knowledge, creativity, and adoption of the alternate method of communication. Nevertheless, the drawbacks out ways these benefits, thus, necessitating the regulation of its use by children.