MATHEW DITCHBURN of Massey High School says the popular, and burgeoning, social media is often less than social in its effect on young people.
Children are energetic and playful.
We see them running around and socialising while they’re young. A child’s main part of the day is made up of learning, lunchtimes, after school activities – like sports – and sleep.
What if one of these key parts was lacking due to the ever-growing technology in our society? I was always a sporty child, so I would spend much of my time doing extra-curricular activities. But how do these technological advances hinder the less sporty children in our society?
Since I was a kid, technology has advanced dramatically. Kids these days have X-Boxes or iPads or even full blown computers to play on, not to mention cellphones. Is this just unnecessary access to social media?
Social media is one of the largest things in our society today. We have gone through the generations of people that talked face to face, then via home phones, and now we are into the many different options via the internet.
Children are being provided with access to the internet through all of the latest devices. We all know the dangers of the internet – as teenagers we were once warned of the perils of social media. The problem is, none of us take the warnings seriously.
We are part of a generation that I will label “careless”. Everyone knows we shouldn’t swear or post pictures of us partying, or message anything inappropriate to others. “One day it will come back to haunt you”, is how we are warned of this.
The internet is not something that will benefit children. They are too susceptible to the poison that seeps through the social media sites they no doubt will be on. I wasted enough time not being a kid when I was younger; this generation of kids is growing up too fast.
Kids should be innocent and they should be kept away from the terrors of social media. These terrors include (but aren’t limited to) ‘R’ rated content, violent content, and strangers.
Who says that your child couldn’t just search up something they think is funny like “tits” on Google? I know whenever someone said something inappropriate when I was eight it was hilarious.
This experience, however, will definitely not benefit your child. I know many popular YouTube videos now have bad language in them, which could potentially influence your innocent child.
The sad thing is, I searched up ‘little kids swearing’ on YouTube and got 97,700 results. On the recommended list if you type in ‘little kids’, you get the autocomplete recommending you a list of horror. Little kid fight, little kid dougie, little kid smoking, little kid swearing. These are the most searched terms in YouTube under little kid.
Do you want your child to be anywhere near this trash? Setting examples for your child can be hard for your child, but the internet turns a mission into a nightmare. Not even bringing up violence or strangers I have covered a full list of how the internet is dangerous for your children.
Loss of innocence is a common theme in many novels, because it makes for a great enemy. In The Hunger Games, Katniss loses her innocence very early – at 12 when her father dies – which makes the Capitol a great enemy. This is directly applicable to the internet.
Of course you may wonder, well what would I do as a teenager if I didn’t have the internet? Some replies were sport, homework, socialising, reading and drumming. These results don’t lie; the internet makes people LESS productive.
Young kids don’t need to become less productive; they should be energetic and sporty and happy. Just writing this article alone, I have procrastinated two days just playing games and I have spent about an hour on various forms of social media in “breaks”. That’s horrific, and I am not the worst of the procrastinators.
Comments from people I have interviewed:
“The internet has driven me away from sport, and has taken a lot of time out of my schedule” - Ryan
“I’m at home from 4pm and awake till 1am. Most of this time is spent on the internet” - Lauren
These two examples show the severity of the internet’s flaws. The internet can of course benefit kids, but the censorship it requires is phenomenal.
We all know the internet is not good for us, but we are so careless that we aren’t prepared to change. It’s actually an addiction.
The internet can cause loss of innocence, inactiveness and anti-social behaviour. Parents should be restricting the time that kids can spend on the internet each day, and should be constantly monitoring the sites their kids visit.
Kids may not like this in the near future, but in the long run it will benefit kids’ lives greatly. We can’t allow young, innocent children to be subjected to the internet in the way that our generation of teenagers have been.
What we don’t want
A recent study for The Children’s Commissioner for England has found a direct link between exposure to extreme images at a young age and a marked increase in risky and anti-social behaviour, and even health.
The study was conducted by the universities of Middlesex, Bedfordshire, Kent, and Canterbury Christ Church. The findings of this and other studies quoted in the research found direct links with explicit material and “higher acceptance and engagement in sexually permissive behaviours” and attitudes to sex that are “casual and hedonistic rather than affectionate”.
The study also found a link to under-age sex, smoking, alcohol consumption and taking drugs.
A Swedish study showed a 25 per cent of young people exposed to pornography regularly had at least one sexually transmitted disease. A Dutch study showed exposure to sexually explicit online material was “significantly related to the belief that women are sex objects”, partly caused by the fact boys were much more likely to be exposed to pornography than girls.
Children’s Commissioner Dr Maggie Atkinson warned that “violent and sadistic imagery” was easily available to “very young children” because of easy access to the internet on mobile phones and home and tablet computers.
Many children from the age of 10 accidentally accessed “violent and sadistic imagery” while doing legitimate study research.
Children’s Commissioner press release www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk/content/press_release/content_505
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