The Positives and Negatives of Internet Usage

January 10, 2013
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Your teachers or parents have probably told you before that you need to get off the internet and spend more time looking out the window, playing outside, or socializing. They say that constantly using a computer will start to have negative effects on your brain, sleep, and social skills. However, there are many positive effects of internet usage that outweigh the bad. It allows us to instantly access information, post our thoughts for others to see, and lets us find our creative side.

There are of course some aspects of computer use that many adults don’t like. For example, the fact that (depending on the website or program being used) not much is censored on the internet. Many parents don’t want their kids exposed to images or phrases that are “inappropriate for their age level”. According to an older census, some kids as young as three or older use the internet. (Not educational games-- internet.) For younger kids, or to stricter parents, most websites are not secure places that they’d want their kids to be on. Another factor that parents don’t approve of is how easily some people may be able to communicate with their children, and possibly get information about them, whether to harm the child or not. There are people out there who will try to scam others or give them false information. A last big problem with adults is the studies that continuous computer usage will “rot your child’s brain”. Since the internet is a huge place, of course there will be unpleasant things posted, and there are some (not the smartest) people who don’t have the best opinions and try to persuade others to join them. There are some violent, addicting, and just plain dumb games out there. While there are some websites that will grab a teen’s attention for a while, this isn’t destroying their education; it’s simply a form of entertainment. All of these problems listed can be easily solved.

There are ways of protecting what your child does and sees online. I think that first and foremost you should trust your child to be responsible online. Of course, that won’t always work. Parental filters are available for use, though I don’t recommend using them. Trust is the best method of security; if your child can’t be trusted, they probably shouldn’t be online in the first place. Next, some parents are concerned about the educational value of internet usage and if their opinions are being changed negatively. Many teens, in some parents’ eyes, are becoming antisocial due to their preference of using technology rather than socializing. In my opinion, though socializing is important, it is not a major aspect of your life to go out and party or go to a friend’s house every single night. (Though every once in awhile, you should probably drag your teen out of their room to go to a family party.) They may be getting what they need online, in a positive relationship. There’s the issue of strangers talking to and possibly harming kids. In my opinion, if a teen is old enough to use the internet properly, they’re most likely to know the difference between another teenager with similar intentions and someone who is posing to be someone else. Even though you learn as a kid to be wary of the information you give out online and who you’re talking to, the internet is a place where teenagers are themselves the most.

The internet is a place for teenagers to express themselves freely, without an adult hanging over them or being hindered by physical communication or parental approval in every aspect. It’s a way to get away from daily stress and normal life. While some parents and teachers are concerned about negative effects of internet on teenagers’ lives, the bottom line is that they should be trusted. Trusting a teen is the best way to ensure that they’re being responsible on the internet.

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Charlie Palmer said...
Jan. 7, 2015 at 6:35 am
Although your article highlights a number of issues synonymous with using the internet, I feel as if a few have simply been ignored. How can a parent provide sufficient trust when there is such a vast bank of dangers? Surely this merely shows a lack of sense?
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