The reach of the internet is indeed worldwide. It spans across all countries, all communities and obviously, all age groups. Therefore, even kids, for being especially susceptible to external influences, easily fall prey to the influence of internet.
As is applicable to most other such phenomenon, it comes with both its advantages and disadvantages. However, if one has to carefully weigh these two sides, it is clearly evident that in this case, the negative effects on internet influence outweigh its positive effects.
The adverse consequences include social, physical, emotional and psychological consequences, and therefore, internet influence can turn out to be a very harmful influence for kids if it is not channelized and supervised in a proper way.
The main cause due to which internet influence on kids is so widespread and commonplace is because the apparent accuracy of the internet as a source of information, and also the wide variety and volume of information it can possibly provide one with.
Therefore, the same problems which used to befuddle kids before they had access to use internet do not have the same effect on them any longer. Also, the question of parental influence might also arise here.
Erstwhile, the problems with which the kids used to approach their parents to find the solution can now be easily solved just with a few clicks on a computer (or smartphone, to make things even easier).
Another factor is that internet opens many doors for the kids which they could not have possibly done on their own, for example: the social media.
Therefore, internet gives the kids a false sense of freedom, which can easily get into someone’s head and make them almost addicted to the internet. Another reason why the internet can easily influence kids is its utmost convenience.
Getting accustomed to and the further using the internet is really easy and can be done without any proper or previous guidance and therefore it also gives kids a sense of self competence, which further strengthens the influence on them.
Positive effects of internet influence
The main positive effect or advantage of internet influence on kids is their enhancement of knowledge through browsing the internet, as there are various websites scattered all over this virtual form of library which can supply kids with many sources to quench their curiosity, if there is a certain degree of supervision over what sort of websites the kids are having access to.
Another positive effect is the fact that kids can now use the social media as a genuine platform to showcase all their talents, through websites like YouTube, etc.
Social networking is another advantage of the internet, but a careful balance needs to be maintained which would ensure that kids only use social media to their benefit, for example: for a healthy exchange of ideas and opinions.
Also, there are many online games and other activities which can work towards enhancing the kids’ hand eye coordination, teamwork, and creative skills. It also in turn contributes to the development of one’s visual and social intelligence.
Moreover, in one survey conducted, it has been proven that kids who regularly use the internet thrive in academics as compared to their peers who do not have any similar access.
Also, through the internet, kids can nurture various new ideas which would open their minds to completely new possibilities and improve their imagination.
Furthermore, through the internet, kids can lay their hands on various archives of books, magazines, television shows, and movies which are not available for them otherwise. Through this, indirectly, the knowledge base of the kids is further expanded.
Spending too much time in front of the computer screens pose serious threats to the lives of kids engaged in the same. This way, their lifestyles become essentially a sedentary one and their movements are minimized to the level of serious inactivity.
This can cause problems to one’s bones, muscles, and joints as they do not undergo a considerable amount of physical activity and movement this way and therefore their purpose is fulfilled to the optimum level. One’s cognitive development can also be greatly stunned by an overdose of internet addiction.
Too much of computer use can also cause a considerable amount of strain to one’s eyesight. Exposure to media violence can also hamper one’s emotional well being to a great extent, which is one of the chief health hazards caused due to excessive internet influence on kids.
Spending a longer time playing video games can also cause pain to one’s carpal tunnel and certain other parts of their body due to overuse beyond one’s normal threshold of physical tolerance.
Most importantly, a sedentary lifestyle like that has been mentioned here can be a major cause to weight problems, eventually leading to obesity, and it is needless to say how harmful obesity is in a young and delicate age.
Other negative influences
The internet has been used as a medium of cyber violence or bullying. We have seen countless movies and TV shows where the internet has effectively been used to harm or injure other people by hampering with their mental and psychological well-being this is what bullying actually leads to.
The recent blue whale game which became infamous due to the fatal influence it was having on kids all throughout the world is yet another alarming consequence of what excessive exposure to the darker side of the internet can do to kids.
As kids are impressionable and vulnerable to many kinds of influences, they are also easily targeted by people who want to adversely affect others, as has been the case of this game. Therefore, suicide rates can also rise through excessive internet influence.
Also, through social media especially, kids start comparing themselves and their lives to others, and when they see themselves as an inferior through this process of social comparison, they might succumb into loneliness, self-loathing, and even frustration and depression.
This shows that an unchecked exposure to the internet can harm the kids’ mental health as well.
No good thing remains good in an unchecked excess. The same can be said for the internet as well. No matter how big a boon it might be for the entire mankind, we cannot deny the harms it has caused and will continue to cause to the mankind as well. But we cannot blame the internet completely.
It is proven that a cautious approach to the utilization of the services the internet has to offer can easily keep a lot of potential harms at bay.
Therefore, if the internet is handled with caution, and if the kids are properly taught what to use and how exactly to use it, the internet might as well stop being a source of any kind of negative influence on the kids of today’s generation.