Effect of Internet Usage on Teens

As the use of the internet becomes more of a necessity than an amenity, it is important for teens and younger generations to understand what the internet and long exposures to technology can do to them. If not the internet can be harmful to the teens and change the way our society works. If teens realize how often they use the internet and how to protect themselves from the dangers that lurk beyond the screen then they can be safe internet users. Not only will they be safe but they will realize how the risks of the internet outweigh the benefits.

The internet offers a wide variety of information. However this information can be much more harmful than it can be helpful. For example, information about sex in young adults and children becomes widely more available. In fact, more than half of the 7th to 10th graders have looked up sexual health information for personal or learning purposes. This shows that instead of seeking guidance in an educated and trusting adult, these teens are looking on the internet. Some sites may give false information and may lead to unsafe sex in young adults.  The teens could reach out to an educated adult that can help them make the right decisions and responsible choices. If teens become reliant on the internet for information more problems may occur, such as; self diagnosis, loss of innocence, and high sex drive in young children. It is important that teens are monitored and given the correct information over the internet.

Another problem with the easy access is that teens are exposed to great amounts of stereotypes over the sites and places they visit on the internet. For example, if a student was reading an online magazine to research for a project they may come across lots of signs of stereotypes in one magazine. One of the most common stereotypes is the differences between men and woman. The cover of a magazine may show a young woman cooking to support her children while a man in a tux stands by. This stereotype depicts women as the “housekeepers” and men as the “workers”. However, our society today is trying to create gender equality, if teens are constantly being shown these images over the internet the stereotypes are ingrained in them.

As the internet becomes more popular and gains more information the reports of children being victimized by predators increases. If children are uneducated by the dangers of the internet they may be subjected this kind of danger. Sentry PC, an online internet safety program, states that, “One in five U.S. teenagers who regularly log on to the Internet say they have received an unwanted sexual solicitation via the Web.” Young children may be tempted to make friends with these predators and become victims of sex trafficking or other dangers. It is important that children know who they are contacting and how to stay secure before using certain internet sites.

These sites are mainly the social medias teens are so addicted to in this day and age. Most of teens have a social media, Amanda Lenhart of Pew Internet Research says that "24% of teens go online “almost constantly,” facilitated by the widespread availability of smartphones." If uneducated groups of teens are on these sites constantly it can cause many problems such as cyberbullying and phone or technology addiction. Teens often feel protected because they have private settings or they know they can “delete” what they post at any given time. However, some fail to acknowledge that these sites are constantly being monitored and saved. Most internet safety guidelines emphasize the importance of “Nothing ever goes away once posted on the internet.” Once teens follow this idea it is easier to make conscious decision about what is being posted on the internet. This is why it is important for children to learn these tips.

Even though the internet has been shown as a negative influence on today's teens it can be beneficial in many ways as well. Not only does the internet offer a very easy and quick way to gain information. It makes communication much easier throughout the globe. But, this wide variety of information can create bad habits and loopholes in children's studies such as plagiarism. The wide variety of information can be harmful in many ways but the easy communication can be harmful because of the unknown of who you are talking to. I talked about this earlier in the passage. Predators are a great threat to today's teens.               
                                        
In order to avoid teens getting in conflict with the great amount of danger that lies in our technology, teens must be educated. Parents should monitor teen social medias and look out for signs of unsafe use. Almost three in 10 parents (29%) let their kids use the internet without any restrictions or supervision (Taryn). We should make sure that all children are being carefully watched and protected. Another way to help with safety can be school requiring teens to take an online training course on how to be technology smart. Once teens understand how to safely navigate through the internet they can use it at its full advantages.






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