Being one of the most revolutionary inventions, internet has forever changed the communication modes as more and more people shift to the virtual world and experience more comfort and power in a globally connected environment. Internet has proved nothing less than a boon and a magic box that we have only begun to explore. Great power also brings more responsibility. Declining social contacts and increasing online presence has governments and health researchers worried with some even holding that ‘Internet addiction’ to be a psychological disorder. The young users are the most vulnerable to digital technologies. A Consumer Report survey found many disturbing trends among children addicted to the internet, Facebook and other social media sites. They findings were that there are about 20 million children active on the internet since 2011, of which 7.5 million are less than 13 years of age, 5 million were 10 or less than that. Children surfing the internet went largely unsupervised by parents. Kids aren’t supposed to access Internet without parental guidance for where it is a treasure house of knowledge but at the same time it can be lethal. Internet is destroying the young minds due to Open access and much exposure to explicit, violent and disturbing content at a young age is damaging young minds fast whereas parents are left struggling to find a way out as their kids display far more knowledge of PC and Internet usage than they do. To discuss major negative influences, we have a priority list of 6 ways Internet is destroying the kids.
6. Virtual world addiction:
Addiction to a virtual world is cutting out children from the real world and turning them more and more withdrawn into closed and sit-in environments. The long term effects as kids turn more and more to the web for meeting the needs of a good education, entertainment, and social contact are yet to studied but the kind of violent and brutal behavior noticed in some American children who have gone on killing rampages is an indicator about the latent dangers of being addicted to a virtual world.
5. Sexually-deviant or sexually-addictive:
It’s a natural for sexual curiosities to grow with age of kids. An early exposure to explicit pornography over the internet, a study showed, alters children’s natural perception of sexuality in one way or other. Kids turning sexually-deviant or sexually-addictive and unsafe sex among adolescents leading to rise in sexually transmitted diseases have been attributed to long internet exposures.
4. Physical and creative inactiveness:
Sitting for long hours before computers, staring at screens is making children dull and inactive, depriving them of opportunities of exploring their creative abilities and leading a healthy lifestyle. Obesity is one of the results of deficiency of physical activity. Eyes, shoulders and neck regions have become vulnerable to early body ailments. Lack of physical activity is hindering natural strengthening of body muscles. Scientists have always linked healthy bodies to healthy minds but in the age of internet, this age old tested dictum is being defied as internet addiction among children increases.
3. Concentration, weak memory and short attention span:
Recent studies have shown that availability of easy study material and a wide range of educational applications are revolutionizing the way kids acquire advanced knowledge data bases, but it’s disturbing the way they store this information. Children nowadays do not write down relevant textual material, but bookmark the sites or copy-paste onto word docs. With the need to store information diminishing, the children’s memory powers are getting weaker. Easy access to exaggerated content on internet not only distracts children but teachers are noticing reduced attention spans in students. Kids find it hard to concentrate as they deal with multiple tabs where they constantly hop to Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, Google, gaming sites etc. A prolonged exposure to the same concept has kids start losing their concentrating abilities, which directly influence their productivity in academics and social life.
2. Exposure to cyber crimes & effects of anonymity:
The Consumer Report survey revealed that over one million kids faced harassment, threats or were exposed to cyber bullying in the year 2011. Number of 13 year olds or younger accessing the internet, since then has gone. Inexperienced young minds are an easy target on Internet and social media sites. A survey found that over 80 million Facebook accounts are fake and socially anxious children find it a more comfortable way to communicate that way as it does not involve face to face interaction. Instead of an additional aid, it becomes an unnecessary wheelchair for kids. It lets them escape from reality and thus entertain their abnormal social behavior.
1. Social, emotional and cognitive development:
Childhood friendships last a lifetime. But the generation now spending more and more hours on the internet and not interacting socially is depriving them of building many bonds of friendship in the real world. Social behavior in the real world gets little share of attention due the overuse of social media websites leading to false notion of friendships or just virtual friendships. Reduced outdoor activities and with not enough social bonding, resulting in isolating upbringings because of excessive usage of internet is causing emotional imbalances in children often leading to deviant and anti-social behaviors.