Internet and Kids

September 26, 2019

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Kids have been back to school for about a month in the United States. It is a happy time for parents and a scary time for kids. A lot of changes have probably happened over the summer especially if your child is becoming a teenager or going from Middle School of Junior High to High School. But with school starting and your kids meeting new classmates and making new friends, the students will be online more and have more opportunity to be online. Especially with more assignments being given online and with schools giving computers to the students to use for assignments.

Symptoms of Smartphone Addiction

  • Negative effects on school, family, and social situations.
  • Constant checking of the phone.
  • Sleep disturbances due to constant checking of the phone.
  • A strong need to be connected via the phone.
  • Mood changes when asked to put the phone down, and becomes defiant.
  • Increased use to achieve satisfaction or to counteract sadness.
  • Need to respond immediately to messages.
  • Unease when unable to use the smartphone.
  • Always keeps the phone plugged in to the charger for fear of it running out of battery.

I have a daughter who have a lot of these symptoms. So I know what it feels like from the parent’s perspective, and as someone who is in the tech industry I struggle with her having the smart phone. I know the benefits of technology. It is entertainment and it can be used to make life easier.

What I don’t like and when it becomes harmful is when she becomes angry and also isolates herself from others. She will go to youth activities or go to her friend’s house and she will not even spend time with them. She will make videos or tet her friends by herself. Or she will watch videos.

Fitting In a Technology World

Kids have the added pressure of trying to fit in at school. And doing what other kids are doing. I know that some kids are just not mature enough to handle technology like with kids. I believe technology is good, and can be used for good and bring you health and happiness. Heck, I should because I am in the technology field, but it is also a dangerous place. If you do not know how to use technology, and are not taught you can be lead down the wrong path. Your kids may find out there is dangers out there that they will not know how to deal with.

Kids have more chances ever before to get themselves into trouble without knowing it. Especially with so many kids having cell phones and mobile devices that are not being monitored as well as it should be.

Stop Bullying

When I was growing up schools would have bullies, and when you were being bullied then they would beat you up. And the parents would discuss this with the kids and try not to let it happen again. After two or three fights the two kids would eventually work out their feelings. Now you have cyber bulling, and texting each other. Sure parents and school administrators may not think it is serious because it doesn’t involve fighting on school property, and no physical scars are seen. But emotional scars are there left on the child. It also causes a lot of school violence much worse than when the bully takes it out on the kid being bullied.

What are parents to do to control and protect their children when you cannot control what information they see on social media and the different technology devices they have access to. Such as their friends, school computers, library computers, home computers when parents are not home and not to mention XBox and other gaming devices that are connected to the internet.

Children are smart enough to make new and alternate accounts that parents do not know about, and they use those accounts to sign up to new accounts. Social Media websites do try to safeguard the account creation by not having kids under 13 years old to sign up to the website. But they do the bare minimum to follow the laws. They ask the account holder their date of birth, but they do not verify that information. They take you at your word. It is not 1990s anymore. Kids lie about their age all the time. Asking about your date of birth is the equivalent of carding someone before serving them alcohol. And underage teens giving them a fake ID.

Kids are so consumed with what their peers are doing, and it is hard if not impossible to prevent them to get on it. It is a loosing battle, so the best way to combat the things they will be exposed to is to educate them and guide them with Internet Safety tips. Some of the tips to stress is not giving others their phone number, address, age, or pictures.

Is the Internet to Blame?

Leonard Kleinrock
Leonard Kleinrock

Who invented the Internet, and why was it not designed as well as it could have been? The answer is that The Internet was developed by several people, and they all had different ideas for what the Internet should be, and contributed to its success. You can read more about the “History of the Internet and Computer History” here. Some of the fault is because the Internet was not designed for security and safety of others. They designed it for ease of use so security and protection is bolted on at the last minute or as an afterthought. Also companies are so concerned with privacy and not letting anyone have access to what their users are doing, which I agree is a good thing… But I also believe that their should be a parental control settings on every app or account that is accessible by all the parents no matter how old the kid is.

The Internet is not to blame as far as social media being viewed by kids. Kids should be taught as young as they could about the Internet and how to use it responsibility, and what to do when they see stuff that they should not see. Also be told who to tell when someone tells them something that is disrespectful. How do you use social media and communicate with others online?

Tips to Monitor Students Activities Online

  • You teach them by providing them social media accounts in limited amount of time.
  • You tell them you have to be a member of their friends or community so you are notified of their comments and who comments to them.
  • Every night you also need to take up the device they use the most and see if they have installed anything that you are not aware of.

There is a lot that can be done you just have to decide what is important to you. Monitoring your child and being a parent or giving the child the oportunity to make mistake and posibly get into trouble.

Additional Solutions for Smartphone Addiction

  • Talk about the benefits and pitfalls of mobile device uses. Create a plan together to institute healthy limits on smartphones for everyone in the family, including parents because sometimes parents have an unhealthy use of mobile devices as well.
  • Keep electronic devices out of the bedroom to avoid sleep disturbances.
  • Establish times and places where screens aren’t allowed.
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