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Should We Restrict Internet Usage by Children?

The internet, these days, is the most commonly used means of communication besides being widely utilized as a source for accessing information as well as entertainment. Many people use this media as a platform for social networking also. Thus, in a practical sense, the internet offers many advantages to people from all walks of life, including students. This media especially is preferred by most people because of its potential in terms of ease, speed, and cost-effectiveness, particularly in the context of students. A child no more has to physically move to a library, which entails transportation and its costs, to access any information related to his or her studies, as the same can be availed by sitting in the comfort of home, through the internet. However, as the saying goes, every coin has two sides. Internet too, despite the wide range of possibilities it offers, has some disadvantages as well. Some major drawbacks, in the case of children, include exposure to undesirable sites including pornography, chances of divulging personal or financial information, unknowingly violating copyright or other regulations, etc. So, as a safety precaution, internet usage by children and teens must be filtered by parents and other elders.

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While the rights of children to access information should be respected, unrestrained access to the internet may expose them to several hazards. Pornographic sites are very common these days and the ads placed by them on different sites may lead children to access such sites unintentionally. On many occasions, pop-ups appear on the screen which takes the user to undesirable sites. Thus children who access the internet for obtaining information stand the chance of accessing sites that contain material that is inappropriate for them. Once they gain access to such sites, children tend to go back again and again because these sites often offer free sample movies and pictures. These sites will harm the children and it will hamper their studies besides creating emotional and psychological problems in them. It is intending to obviate such problems that Calgary public library restricted that “Library staff is authorized to ask you to stop using the internet if your use is disturbing others.” (Norman, 24). Therefore, to prevent the negative effects, parents and other elders must use internet filtering in all the computers that children have access to, by installing suitable software that is available in the market.

In the modern world, it only seems appropriate that children should receive the opportunity to share and communicate their ideas with people who have the same interest, and interact with children around the world. Besides, in the post-globalization era, the relevance of learning about different cultures assumes great significance. Most children these days engage in social networking to make friends. The potential of the internet in this regard is quite high and it effectively contributes to cultural integration. However, the pitfalls that exist in these types of interaction are too grave to ignore. There prevails every possibility that antisocial elements, terrorists, or other criminals pretending to be friends may come into contact with the children and become a bad influence on them. Besides, such elements may extract information from children and misuse it to achieve some ulterior motives. As Mike Irvin, COO of Webroot Software rightly claims, “Without proper parental guidance, children can put themselves at risk, compromise valuable family information, or be the sources of bad behavior like illegally downloading videos or music or buying.” (CMP Media LLC). To prevent such occurrences, it is necessary that parental guidance should be available to children, and elders should evolve a feasible system to filter the internet usage by children.

Many companies advertise on the internet as it is cheaper than other media. Almost all sites carry the advertisements of different companies and these also provide hyperlinks to access their home page. This will lead the children to visit such sites though it is not voluntarily intended by them. As a business strategy, the companies design the ads with “bright colorful images and catchy phrases designed to put pressure on children to purchase goods online.” (The Internet). Thus children may be enticed to ordering things online, again, at the risk of divulging personal and financial information, which runs the risk of falling into wrong hands. Such sites also pressure children to spend money on things they do not require if they had not seen the ads. Therefore, parents and elders, in the interest of their children or wards, should devise ways and means to filter their computers with some software to eliminate the chances of such risks.

From the above discussions, it becomes apparent that though the internet possesses a lot of advantages that facilitate easy communication and access to information quickly and cheaply, it has several demerits also, especially when it concerns children. Children these days use the internet frequently and studies revealed that “parents tend to underestimate adolescents’ engagement in risky internet behaviors.” (Albert, Khoo, and Ang). It is high time people acknowledged the pitfalls in the use of the internet by children and took effective measures to avoid any hazard to young children as well as teens. Therefore, parental intervention becomes necessary so that children do not get exposed to inappropriate content or inadvertently fall prey to bad friendships. Under the circumstances, filtering of internet usage by children, employing installing appropriate software, is a desirable measure to prevent possible harm to them.

Works Cited

Norman. Calgary Filtered for Parents Net. Library Journal. 126 (2). University of South Alabama (AVL). 2001.

Albert, Liau., Khoo, Angeline., and Ang, Pen. Parental Awareness and Monitoring adolescent Internet Use. Academic Search Premier EBSCO. 2008.

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CMP Media LLC. 2004.

The Internets: Benefits Dangers and Strategies. Young Media Australia. 2008. Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, October 25). Should We Restrict Internet Usage by Children? Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/should-we-restrict-internet-usage-by-children/

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StudyCorgi. (2021, October 25). Should We Restrict Internet Usage by Children? https://studycorgi.com/should-we-restrict-internet-usage-by-children/

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