Internet for Children: Benefits and Threats

Introduction

The internet is one of the most important inventions of the 20th century. This creation has had a tremendous impact on modern life. Many people rely on it for a wide variety of activities. The abilities of the internet have made it a key factor in increasing the productivity of both businesses and individuals. For this reason, access to internet services is deemed a key indicator of the economic wellbeing of a nation. Many Western Governments have invested heavily in telecommunication infrastructure to increase access to the internet by their populations. Due to these efforts, many homes have internet connection making this service available to children. In addition to this, most children in the Western world have mobile phones that can be used to access the internet. While access to the internet can have some benefits for children, the exposure has the potential to be harmful. This paper will argue that the internet can harm children and as such, they need to be protected from it.

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Why the Internet is Harmful

The most significant danger of the internet to children is that it increases the probability of this young ones being hunted by online predators. In the real world, parents do all that they can to ensure that their children are protected from unwanted company. However, in the internet, the children are able to meet all kinds of people online. In chat rooms, children can begin online relationships with strangers. These strangers might not always be good people. Barnes reports that there are cases where paedophiles seek out children in the online environment (1). After establishing some level of trust, they use various measures to lure the children into meeting them physically. They then sexually abuse the children and some even kill their victims. Without the internet, the children would not be vulnerable to these dangers. Protecting children from the internet is therefore necessary to ensure that they are safe from the online predators.

The internet provides children with access to online games that not only lead to time wastage but also desensitize the children to violence if the games are of a violent nature. Many online games are addictive and some children can spend hours each day playing their favourite games (Funk 35). This prevents the children from engaging in productive activities such as doing their homework or helping out with the housework. In addition to this, addiction to games prevents the gamer from engaging in normal social interactions. Online game addicts are known to reduce their interactions with people as they become more engrossed in the online games. Another danger of online games is that if these games are violent, they might encourage children to carry out aggressive acts in real life. Research shows that children who play violent online games show a desire to play out the brutal actions in their everyday life (Funk 34). The rise in cases of high school violence is blamed on such online games since the perpetrators are often individuals who play violent computer games on a regular basis.

Children are more vulnerable to bullying if they are exposed to the internet. While bullying is a problem that some children face in various traditional social settings, the internet exposes them to widespread bullying from many people. These people might include schoolmates, neighbours, and even strangers. Some bullies use the anonymity provided by the internet to engage in aggressive bullying without fear of being caught. Bullying has an adverse effect on the child’s psychosocial wellbeing. Storch reveals that when a child is bullied through teasing, name-calling or insults, he/she can become traumatized for life (682). The abuse can lead to depression and cause the child to develop low self-esteem. The feeling of social rejection caused by bullying can cause children to contemplate and even carry out suicide. Storch states that some children develop anxiety problems due to the bullying they experience (683). The internet makes a child more vulnerable to bullying episodes therefore increasing the risk that he/she will suffer from its negative effects. Limiting children’s access to the internet will ensure that they are not exposed to excessive bullying.

The internet contributes to the moral decay of children by exposing them to decadent material. Material of questionable moral level such as pornography is available in huge volumes on the internet. When children visit the internet, they are subjected to this material even without their wish. A report by Ybarra estimates that up to 90% of the youth visiting the internet are made to view pornographic material without their consent (473). In addition to this, children who are curious about such sexual material will easily find it through search engines. The pornographic industry has grown exponentially and there are thousands of websites offering pornographic material (Ybarra 474). The moral standing of children is therefore damaged by the easy access to decadent material made possible by the internet. Protecting children from the internet would limit their exposure to this decadent material. This would promote the development of morally upright children in our society.

Arguments in Support of the Internet and Counterargument

Advocates of the internet argue that it is beneficial to children. They claim that though this invention, children are able to access a lot of important information therefore improving their education. In addition to this, the internet makes it possible for children to engage in collaborative work with their fellow students. This contributes to the attainment of good academic results by the children. The internet also provides a means for children to meet with other children who share their interests. Advocates of the internet also state that it exposes children to tools that will be relevant in their future work life. By early exposure to the internet, children are able to learn how to carry out research and gain proficiency in using computing devices. These assertions are true and children can benefit from the internet. However, the harms described in this paper are also present when the children use the internet. It would be irresponsible for adults to let the children use the internet on their own while these dangers are present.

Conclusion

This paper set out to argue that the internet can be a harmful place for children and as such, they should be protected from it. It began by noting the importance and prevalence of the internet in modern society. The paper then highlighted the various dangers that children face including online predators, bullies, and decadent material. The paper has noted that while there are many advantages of the internet to children, the numerous harms make it unwise to let children access it on their own. It can therefore be declared that children should be protected from the internet to prevent these harms from befalling them.

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Works Cited

Barnes, Susan. “A privacy paradox: social networking in the United States”, FirstMonday 11.9(2006): 1-2.

Funk, Jeanne. “Violence Exposure in Real-life, Video Games, Television, Movies, and the Internet: is there Desensitization?” Journal of Adolescence 27 (2004): 23-39. Print.

Storch, Eric. “The measurement and impact of childhood teasing in a sample of young adults.” Anxiety Disorders 18(2004): 681–694.

Ybarra, Michele. “Exposure to Internet Pornography among Children and Adolescents: A National Survey.” CyberPsychology & Behavior 8.5(2005): 473-486.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, January 10). Internet for Children: Benefits and Threats. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/internet-for-children-benefits-and-threats/

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"Internet for Children: Benefits and Threats." StudyCorgi, 10 Jan. 2021, studycorgi.com/internet-for-children-benefits-and-threats/.

1. StudyCorgi. "Internet for Children: Benefits and Threats." January 10, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/internet-for-children-benefits-and-threats/.


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StudyCorgi. "Internet for Children: Benefits and Threats." January 10, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/internet-for-children-benefits-and-threats/.

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StudyCorgi. 2021. "Internet for Children: Benefits and Threats." January 10, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/internet-for-children-benefits-and-threats/.

References

StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Internet for Children: Benefits and Threats'. 10 January.

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