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Internet harms teenagers more than it helps

Approximately 90 percent of all young people are online. Image credit: iStockphoto

By Maryam Hedayat | | 03 Sept 2013

Nobody can deny the important role of Internet in our everyday life. People of all ages are using it to find information and entertainment. They also look for financial matters. Teens are no exception.

Obviously Internet is a valuable tool, but is somewhat misused by contemporary society. The main group that has been affected the most by technology in modern time is teenagers.

Truly, the two main forms of technology affecting our teenagers are cell phones and the Internet, which have brought main variations to their lifestyle.

Since maximum teens have access to the Internet, either at home, school, public library, or on their cell phone, parents should be responsive of how its overuse or misuse can adversely affect their teen.

The teenage period is often characterized by unstable emotional state. During this period young people are shifting from being a child to being an adult person. In addition, a lot of young people try to establish their roles in the society, to understand their feelings and attitudes.

Approximately 90 percent of all young people are online. Teenagers are visiting the web sites of their favorite TV shows, singers, bands, movies, video games, etc.

Moreover, they are attracted to the commercial sites, since the web sites are designed in bright colors to be appealing in order to attract teenagers and involve them in interactive games.

When teens spend numerous hours per day using the Internet, they reduce the time they have to spend with family, friends, on school work and physical activities.

According to Larry D. Rosen, PhD, professor of psychology at California State University:

“Young adults with a strong Facebook presence show signs of antisocial behaviors, mania and aggressive tendencies. In addition, daily overuse of media and technology has a negative effect on children and teens, making them more prone to anxiety, depression and other psychological disorders.”

The rising and extreme use of the internet among the teenagers has also mostly been influenced by the affordability and availability of internet both at school and home. This continued use of internet by the teenagers has tremendously affected the youngsters with time.

To be specific, most teens who have excessive use of internet have continued to have problems academically, socially and even morally. Teenagers who have an unhealthy dependence on the Internet are almost twice as likely to become depressed as other teens.

It has been established that children who occupy most of their time on the Internet, show a weird kind of behavior which is marked by an urge to be on the Internet all the time, so much that the child may ignore all activities and become dipped in the virtual world.

Surveys conducted over the years have found that most people who suffer from Internet addiction disorder are young adults, who easily fall into the lure of exploring everything that is available on the Internet.

According to a new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 95 percent of teens ages 12-17 use the Internet, and 81 percent of them use social networks.

As of 2012, about 94 percent of teens who use social networks have a Facebook profile, and their average number of Facebook friends is about 425.

Twitter is the second and third most used social networks, with 26 percent and 11 percent of teenage users respectively.

The internet offers a variety of free information and resources that can either build or destroy the life of a teenager. As a result, many teens have ended destroyed morally and psychologically due to excessive use of the internet for the wrong reasons.

Obviously, information posted on the Internet is lawless. The information on the Internet is uncontrolled and there is no way to check its reliability. Consequences children face by getting on the Internet are that they are less able to discriminate between what is real and is not real, and they are unable to test reality in the virtual world.

In fact, today’s teenagers are using technology more than ever. Most of them have Internet access, which they use to send and receive email, instant messages, live chat, and more. Rarely do they stop to think about how harmful the Internet can be, such as exposure to pornography, cyber-bullying, etc. However, the Internet has adverse effects on teenager’s social life.

There are vast collections of games that are available on the Internet and this has made most children to shun all outdoor activities. In the absence of physical activity, children can easily fall prey to a lot of diseases such as obesity, depression etc.

And further more sitting continuously in front of a computer screen can seriously damage their eyes, and put a strain on neck and shoulders. Children are in their developing years and these factors can create life-long problems for them.

The over use of internet by teenagers may affect their mental health. Teenagers who grow up interacting online may find it harder to make friends in the real world and they became aloof, withdrawn and depressed.  

Technology that surrounds everyone in the current civilization, affects our mind, work and even lifestyle. It has many positive aspects, but using it the wrong way could be dangerous.

One of the greatest threats Internet provides to children is an easy medium to gain access to pornography and this can cause them to either become sexually-deviant or sexually-addictive. This phenomenon has also caused another problem, and that is the increase in prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases (STD) in children.

The adult content that is present on the Internet promotes irresponsible sex and creates false notions in the minds of youngsters.

Not only these but children have also been lured by pedophiles posing as good and have been physically abused and molested. Internet has also made it easy for crooked elements to get in touch with children and this has led to an increase in the cases of kidnapping and identity thefts.

About 60% young teens in the United States have admitted to responding to messages from strangers. This kind of behavior is extremely risky and has made children extremely vulnerable to become victims of cyber-crime.

Nowadays most of the parents often encourage their children to use the Internet to access useful information. However, giving them unmonitored and endless freedom often allows them to go astray.

While parents think their kids are searching for information on the Internet, or to complete a homework assignment, they may well spend hours playing games online or come across websites that are not meant for them, including those with inappropriate content such as unsuitable images or videos, information facilitating the use of drugs or alcohol or any kind of violent content.

This is not the only threat a child may face while using the Internet. Too much exposure to the Internet may lead to addiction.

Experts say excessive time spent on the Internet negatively affects the child’s confidence, activity levels and diet, and may lead to sleeplessness, constant headaches and a change in eating habits.

Most parents are not involved in their children's Internet surfing habits and are not aware of which sites they visit.

The growing trend to use Internet without a check among children all over the world is a matter of serious alarm and concern for the parents.

They must  wake up before the light of children’s future begins to dim by misuse of Internet. They must actively participate in deciding what children need to access on the Internet and what not to if they truly wish their children to grow without their innocence being corrupted or tainted.

Technology as an invention is not a bad sign but the use of restricted content on Internet without the age of children suitable for having it will have a long term psychological implications upon the growing soul. It is time parents realize how important their involvement means to the education of children.


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