The side effects of constant media exposure on children continues to be a growing public health problem. In the last 20 years, Internet use among children has increased steadily. More than two-thirds of 8-year-olds go online every day. The relationships between Internet use and physical or social consequences are complicated, but some facts are beginning to reveal themselves.
Next we are going to tell you about some of the physical and social effects of Internet use in children, so that you can be attentive in the event that your children usually use this virtual medium normally. Its use does not have to be negative, as long as the necessary precautions are taken.
As children spend more time in front of screens, they generally spend less time in physical activities . The sedentary lifestyle associated with screen use can be a major risk factor for obesity.
Additionally, continued use of screens is linked to repetitive motion injuries such as carpal tunnel and eye fatigue. For some children, the images that flicker quickly from certain websites and games can trigger epileptic seizures … in this case, special care must be taken as it is negative for their health.
Children with easy access to the Internet may be less able to separate fact from fiction. The Internet has no filter or peer review , so anyone can post whatever they want. Educators are also concerned that informal communication common to chat rooms has moved into academic settings.
Students facing challenging assignments and essays are increasingly prone to plagiarizing from Internet sources. The multitasking many children engage in while online reduces attention span, making it difficult to focus intensely on a single task.
Depression and isolation
Increased Internet use among children can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression. It is not clear whether time spent on the Internet is a cause or effect of these negative feelings. However, more time on the Internet results in less time spent with family and friends or self-interest.
The fast and instantaneous nature of Internet stimulation alters the way a young person views the world, leading to increased boredom in everyday life.
Desensitization to violent stimuli is a potential consequence of excessive Internet use by children. Both violent and pornographic images can fundamentally alter a developing child’s perspective on the world.
Child pornography is especially disturbing and can change a child’s understanding of human sexuality forever. Violent images, obscene language, and a lack of social rules common to the Internet do not prepare anyone, much less a growing child, for interaction in the real world.
Positive effects, are there too?
Games and activities on the Internet can enhance teamwork and creativity . The wealth of information on the Internet can be added to the child’s pool of knowledge, provided the child has learned to discriminate between good and bad sources of information. Many studies have shown that children in homes with computers perform better academically than peers who do not have access to these digital tools. Interacting with computers has been shown to improve both visual intelligence and hand-eye coordination.
As you can see, not everything is bad in terms of Internet use by children , as long as there is adult monitoring and social skills and quality time with family and friends are not put at stake.