Saturday, June 29, 2013
Essay on Impact of the Internet on Children
Instruction: Are children smarter and more sociable because of the Internet
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Essay on Impact of Internet on Children:
Are Children Smarter of More Social Because of the Internet?
Never in the course of history has information been so available than that of the twenty-first century. The advent of the Internet, has allowed everyone to search and learn almost everything and anything under the sun. Apart from this, the World Wide Web has allowed people to connect regardless of distance, time, and location. More significantly, the prevalence of technology has also affected, not just adults but children as well. Such advancement however both has positive and negative impact on the child’s mental and cognitive development as well as their social skills.
New media has undoubtedly become a source of valuable information. Popular search engines such as Google or Yahoo have made researching easy and hassle as a wide range of data becomes readily available with a few simple mouse clicks. This therefore allows children to access data related to their academics as well as practical knowledge which they can use in their daily lives. It is in this context that one can argue that technology has made children smarter. And while it is true that the Internet is a rich source of materials it can also be argued that the most of the information in the World Wide Web are unfiltered while some are even unreliable. A reason behind this is that the Internet allows almost everyone to publish everything online. Wikipedia for instance, is edited and written by not by scholars, but rather by online volunteers and contributors. In addition to this, this site lacks precision and details; and at the same time is not peer-reviewed. Although it offers convenience and accessibility, Wikipedia as an academic source is therefore not considered credible and reliable. This only suggests that the accessibility of information does not necessarily equate to being “smarter”. Rather, it simply a benefit for the children rather than a quality acquired through the use of the Internet (Livingstone, 2013, p. 125).
Sociability is another aspect offered by the Internet. Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have allowed children to connect to almost everyone from different parts of the world. In fact, recent surveys show that the number of children-users is growing at a significant rate. Facebook for instance, allows children as young as 13 years of age to register. Reports however suggest that there are over 8 million children below 13 years old who possessing a Facebook account. Additionally, there are more than five million users who are reportedly under the age of ten. With these figures, it is apparent that the Internet has allowed children to become more “sociable” (Seiter, 2005, p. 34).
Alternatively, it is important to point out that the Internet offers only “virtual” and remote interaction. Face to face interaction is eliminated as one primarily relies on technology to facilitate communication. As such, instead of direct interaction, both children and adult communicate through exchanges of email, chats, instance messages, or video calls. Despite of the convenience it offers, online interaction would often equate to anonymity and dubiousness as opposed to the intimacy and transparency bought about by face-to-face communication. The shift from personal to virtual interaction therefore suggests that convenience has taken over simple and direct interaction and relationships (Hunter, 2012, p. 1).
The Internet has indeed made man’s life easier. It is however important to remember that convenience does not trump true knowledge and true communication. Children of this era are given the privilege to enjoy the access of information like never before but it is also crucial that they practice critical thinking in order to discern both the positive and negative benefits of the Internet. Accordingly, parents and teachers alike should take part in educating the youth how to properly and efficiently use the Internet.
Hunter, B. (2012). “The Subtle Benefits of Communication”. Stanford. Retrieved 28 June 2013,
Livingstone, S. (2013) Children and the Internet. NY: Wiley.
Seiter, E. (2005). The Internet Playground: Children’s Access, Entertainment, and Miseducation.