Good or bad, we cannot ignore the internet anymore, especially for our kids who are truly living in the tech age. Dealing with a healthy online presence and having a system that works well with your kids is not a one-size-fits-all, especially with hybrid learning becoming the norm. The Internet can be a wonderful and educational tool for your kids, exposing them to a cauldron of information, making learning fun, engaging and accessible. With that, comes the harmful effects of the Internet- besides the physiological dangers that come with prolonged exposure to screen, there are some real mental health risk factors associated with accessing the Internet, especially for young kids and teens. It is quite a fine balance that you have to strike because you don’t want to deprive your kids of a great tool but you also have to be wary of the risks that come with it. We break it down for you, so you can make an informed decision and a structure around your kid’s time on the Internet.
What are the pros of the Internet for Your Kids?
- In the age of Tech, everything is becoming more streamlined to make our lives depend heavily on tech in the near future. Kids being tech-savvy is not a skill anymore, it is a requirement as their comfort with handling digital terms and software can really help them in the future.
- The Internet empowers your child intellectually. It contains a host of information and content that illuminates your child’s knowledge and helps cultivate a myriad of interests that they wouldn’t even know about had there not been the internet. Through the internet, children have acquired diverse skills and interests, like learning languages, coding, graphic design, and whatnot. Not just that, information on the internet has helped them become better at their current hobbies such as gardening, dancing, or singing as they share their talents with a community that they have made for them online.
- The Internet helps them cultivate an infatuation for learning. The digital space has revolutionized modern learning, freeing them from the constraints of syllabi and textbooks making it more engaging and fun, through attractive content and ease of access. These days your kids can learn the mathematical table by playing a fun game on the net rather than mugging up the tables that they get at school. Yes, face-to-face learning has its own benefits in a classroom setting, but it is impossible to deny the wonderful potential of a hybrid system of learning where your kid’s learning potential will have more space to grow!
- In an increasingly globalized and multicultural world, kids are often exposed to diverse cultures and practices that they have no knowledge of, but the Internet helps to raise more culturally-aware kids. As your kids access more diverse content on the net, they are introduced to the lifestyle and idiosyncrasies of other cultures making them more aware and sensitive to them, and more mindful of their actions. Not just that, as the climate change movement gains more traction, kids are becoming more aware of our actions and responsibility to stop climate change on the internet through their favorite digital stars of Youtube personalities
- The pandemic re-defined our reliance on the internet by making it the soul of our day-to-day activities. Your kids used the net for Zoom School, they stayed connected with their friends over Facetime or Skype and finished almost a year of education away from the classroom! The pandemic has forced us to look beyond the normative view of the black and white thought process that we often lend to the influence of the internet.
However, there are some cons that you need to be wary about before formulating a healthy relationship between the internet and your child.
- There is a plethora of information on the internet, true, but that information could be potentially harmful. Kids can access inappropriate material on the net that goes beyond their understanding allowing them to form uninformed opinions about serious matters.
- In the age of social media, teens tend to present the best versions of their lives on their accounts, making them want to keep up the pressure of staying relevant and trendy. They want to look like their favorite digital stars and have a larger audience like them making social media an obsession. Increasing time spent on these apps can form some unhealthy opinions about body image and hurtful comments on the internet can drastically affect their moods.
- Prolonged exposure to the internet affects eye-sight and makes your child prone to headaches. Laptops and screens have harmful blue rays that are emitted and can seriously affect your child if they are exposed to it for longer amounts of time.
- Increased distractibility of digital apps can seriously hamper concentration. Increased exposure to apps and video games can seriously affect your child’s concentration and attention as they constantly get dependent on visual stimulants to help them concentrate.
- Reduced social intelligence. As kids in the digital age, interaction is becoming more and more tech-based, and conversations without screens are becoming rare. When kids spend most of the time on the net, they forget that a world beyond the screens exists, with conversations and connections being made without the presence of the internet. Kids are becoming more and more antisocial as most of their social interactions are based on digital premises, thus eliminating the authentic charm of a meeting and sharing things in person!