The effect of the Internet is an issue that has been an ongoing global debate. Today, many teenagers draw the information from the Internet that guides their day to day activities, health, fashion, education, entertainment and even their relationships. It would be right to say that the Internet caters almost to every need. Internet is slowly becoming an indispensable part of their life. So, the logical question at this point is whether the influence of Internet on teenagers is positive or negative, and what steps can be taken to minimize, if not eliminate, the negative effect?
Research shows a very interesting perspective. Parents have facilitated the exposure of their teenagers to the Internet. Some parents believe that web is an integral part of their day to day lives. With the Internet, anything becomes possible. The access to information is fast, reliable and cheap as compared to other means of information, e.g. books. Through web, the world becomes a global village. It has also brought some services closer, including shopping, booking tickets, paying bills and online banking, which are at the click of a button. The Internet is today’s generation educative technique. With such convenience attached to the Internet and its many advantages, does it have any disadvantages? And if so, do the pros outweigh the cons when for the teenagers of our time?
In his post, Sumeet describes the Internet as a ‘nuclear exploitive technique’ due to its negative effects on teenagers. In fact, the Internet does carry its fair share of unwanted sites. For example, the alarming influx of chatting and porn websites where teenagers tend to waste their time, hinder the channeling of time into more productive activities. The author concludes by saying that there are two sides to the Internet, one side that can enhance productivity and another that inhibits productivity. Thus, the choice depends on how the teenager decides to use it.
The question that arises at the juncture is, are there only two sides to this coin? Or is the issue in regards to the Internet and teenagers is multifaceted? According to the analysis done by Kaur, the Internet is a boon, and its misuse should be avoided so that it does not become a bane. In the article, the author describes the Internet as the first reference point in any puzzling matter that one encounters. Currently, it is the only source of efficient information available. The author describes the Internet as versatile resource. He continues to praise its benefits by giving examples, such as its usefulness in booking holidays in distant places, running individual campaigns, meeting likeminded people from different walks of life and many others asks that otherwise would cost of time and money. The author claims that the list is not exhaustible. Therefore, people all over the world are finding the Internet as a necessity in their lives.
However, parents of teenagers are worried that their children are addicted to the net and have no time for extracurricular activities, which is a vital component for a teenager to be all rounded. The Internet can become like a drug to them. The author links the scenario to a similar one that occurred a couple of decades ago, when television found its way into the living rooms of numerous homesteads all over the world. Most parents complained about the grip the Internet has over their children. The question the author poses brings in another perspective to the issue; it is a problem of character. Could the negative factor be closely linked to the character of the teenager rather than the Internet? There are teenagers in the world who use the web and also participate in outdoor activities. Is it then right to blame the knife simply because people use it to stab others?
The author says that parents ought to invest in character building of their teenagers as a way of enabling them to realize their limits when using the Internet. However it is a complicated avenue considering the fact that in current dynamic age, it is not possible to raise children on a fixed set of rules. For example, the problems encountered by parents in urban India show that the value systems tend to overlap.
According to author, the only way to overcome the Internet addiction is by teaching teenagers how to exercise self-control. The teaching role must be taken by the society if the future generations are to be saved from unproductive behavior. Some governments are working towards banning industries that misuse the Internet, such as pornography and gambling industries. Nevertheless, many communities do not see it as a priority.
In some countries such as Norway, Finland, Sweden and Denmark, various websites have been blacklisted. At an individual level, introduction of content-control software have been adopted by parents and guardians. The option may not be a full proof method since some teenagers know how to hack the software, but it is a start. Parents and guardians recognize the fact that character building is vital factor. If a child’s character is strong, even in the midst of exposure to destructive websites and the duration of browsing, a child will be able to control their Internet habits without any supervision.
In Group Discussions, the authors bring a black and white perspective; the pros and cons of Internet to teenagers. In the article, basically all the advantages and disadvantages are outlined and the final conclusion is done by pointing out the fact that the Internet is a boon. In fact, web equips people with skills and knowledge to cope with the ever-changing world. However, there are always two sides to every situation. Similar to the first article, the authors state that the user should prioritize the pros and avoid the cones.
Targetstudy.com presents yet another article that aims to shed light on the matter of Internet influences. The author describes the Internet as a tool that has ushered in a new era and attracts teenagers. Its affordability and availability has enhanced its accessibility to teenagers. The Internet can be described as a pool of information on any topic. It is also full of applications that can be used in different aspect people’s lives. However, some teenagers may choose to use the Internet to conduct crimes like hacking. The author here outlines the benefits and flaws of Internet use.
According to the author, some of the ways teenagers use the Internet include online searches of educational opportunities depending on their interests. The Internet improves the understanding of various topics that seem difficult in class with interactive forms of information. Consequently, teenagers’ interest in learning is heightened. Lessons taught in interactive way are more exciting and memorable to teenagers. Benefits linked to the kind of learning include a self-drive towards learning. A teenager also learns research skills independently. When compared to other knowledge sources, through the Internet one obtains the latest material. One can access government organizational, personal and entertainment websites, both in print and softcopy. Another benefit linked to the Internet is it sharpens a student’s skills on researching for relevant information. Teachers also can incorporate Internet-based activities into their school curriculum. Thus, the diversity in teaching strategies can increase learning interest of teenagers.
The Internet also promotes inter-cultural understanding. Sometimes students are given assignments that involve the study of other cultures. The students enhance their literacy skills, since they may resort to emailing their online friends for information. Moreover, teenagers learn the importance of following rules and respecting norms, since the search engines on the Internet are governed by protocol. By studying the algorithms, one learns the value of law and learns to respect it. Through the Internet, teenagers who are on holiday are able to search for jobs online, hence keeping occupied when they have time to spare. They are also able to apply for college through the Internet.
In his article, the author acknowledges the fact that there is also another side to the coin it relation to the Internet. Some of the reasons the author includes are the fact that many teenagers develop Internet addiction. Particular cases can lead to medical treatment as a way of curbing their addiction. Such teenagers have strong urges to always blog, log in to chat rooms or visit certain websites. People are known to have begun the addictions from their teenage years, which is a habit that they carried into their adulthood and have cost them their jobs and relationships. Teenagers tend to waste time online, which reflects in poor grades and their school life suffers. Finally, it affects them physically and mentally.
Some teenagers are known to indulge in illegal activities like downloading illegal software, preying on innocent users for money, hacking other people’s documents and spreading viruses. Through the misconduct they can face trouble with the law. Despite of the internet being a hub of beneficial information, it is not entirely reliable, since some information may be doctored or bias for advertisement purposes. Some elements posted are destructive in the hands of a disturbed teenager, and may be dangerous to the people around, e.g. bomb making tutorials. On the contrary, teenagers with a habit of logging into chat rooms may fall prey to pedophiles, who visit chat rooms intentionally with the aim of luring children and eventually harming them. Certain teenagers have chosen the Internet and would rather build relationships online rather than real relationships. Such children live in a fake reality and tend to be illusional. The teenagers use the Internet as an escape pod from reality and the problems they face. The notion is a wrong and can have dangerous effects on their character and the way they relate with their environments.
According to News Medical, close to 80% of the teenagers surf the Internet for various reasons. Like in the previous articles, the author also agrees with the fact that the Internet has both a negative or positive impact on teenagers; it is therefore up to the reader to decide which path to trend on. In the article, the author points to the fact that teenager reveals different sexual identities online as compared to reality. Further studies have showed a link between the Internet usage and number of teenagers who self-inflict injuries without an aim of committing suicide. Certain teenagers, who are usually isolated, find friendships online and with the wrong connection the teenagers may be manipulated to commit dangerous offences, self-inflict injuries or taken advantage of by malicious individuals preying on their vulnerability.
The research can also be a good source of information for teenagers whose parents may not be aware of the importance of advising their children regarding their sexuality; a case witnessed with out-of-school-youths in Ghana.
Cumulatively, the different articles analyzed in the paper have a common denominator that the Internet has both positive and negative effect on teenagers, depending on how the teenagers choose to exploit the utility. However, as pointed out in the second article, helping teenagers build their character is a way of minimizing the negative use of the Internet. Imposing laws that bar exploitation of various destructive websites is yet another way of decreasing the negative effects of the Internet.