The invention of the internet is something that has dazzled humanity. It is indeed a very useful tool. However, its harms can outweigh its advantages when it is exposed to children under the age of 12 (Young, 2017). Kids at that age are vulnerable and can easily develop internet addiction. Internet addiction is defined as the uncontrollable desire to use internet and having very weak power to stay away which may result in damage and anxiety (Shaw & Black, 2008). This illness can be found anywhere but chances are higher for it to appear in regions that have a wide range of smart technologies (Shaw & Black, 2008). Kids are the future; therefore, technological usage must not be allowed for children under the age of 12, as it may cause severe damages to children’s social behaviors (Young, 2017); additionally, internet exposure can deteriorate children’s psychological health (Delmar-Morgan, 2014; Young, 2017, 2010) and finally, kids can easily get addicted to internet and be dependent on smart devices, which can decrease their educational level (Young, 2017).
First, children under the age of 12 should not be exposed to internet because one of the most dangerous outcomes of technological usage for children, is the disruption of a child’s advancement for adapting “social behaviors” (Young, 2017). Young (2017) claims that the duration between the age three to six, is immensely important for kids to develop their societal attitudes and continues that behaviors such as: hostility and violence, are the results of children utilizing cell phones and intelligent technology excessively (Young, 2017; LoBue 2018). In their research paper, Kardaras (2016) and his team showed an example of kids’ violent social behaviors, as they proved that children can grow hostile comeback actions from playing with video games that exhibit brutal actions even if they suffered no hidden mental illnesses. Also, an experiment was conducted to prove that merely watching aggressive scenes results in physical aggressive behaviors for children; preschoolers were gathered to watch a video of an inflatable doll getting knocked and pounded violently by grown-ups and just after the video the kids were presented with other dolls; as expected, kids copied the actions of the grown-ups and treated the dolls violently (LoBue, 2018). Furthermore, exposure of internet can create an obstacle to the growing brain of a young child in separating inappropriate actions from ordinary ones (Young, 2017). Young (2017) also discusses that, any exposure to the technological world for kids under the age of three years, can cause them damage to their connections to society, harm their intelligence and deteriorate the relationship with their mother and father; for example, the nonattendance of up close and personal correspondence in the new intelligent devices can result in prompting social detachment and withdrawal from society by meddling with social collaborations, causing exasperates practices and terrible emotions (Bragazzi and Del Puente, 2014). A reduction in time is often experienced by people who depend a lot on their mobile devices; accordingly, communication with the real world, in actuality, get disregarded, resulting in more connections to the unknown world of the internet (Whang, Lee, and Chang, 2003). Also, choosing to spend time on mobiles rather than connecting with the society and people, can be considered one of the initial symptoms of phone “addiction” (Young, 2017). An affirmative association between network based societal attitudes, societal problems like “social skill deficiency,” “loneliness,” and “social anxiety” and between “problematic internet use” aka “PIU,” was found by conducted research (Caplan, 2005, 2007: Morahan-Martin & Schumacher, 2000, 2003 p36). Additionally, “if the Internet is to influence well-being it will be through its potential to alter the nature of communication and social interaction” (p. 44), is what Valkenburg and Peter (2007) observed. Despite the fact that hi techs are a marvelous instruments for connecting, they can cause high dependence on them and alienate people from society if used uncontrollably (Young, 2017).
Second, children up to the age of 12 must not be allowed to use internet because internet exposure can affect children’s mental health negatively (Delmar-Morgan, 2014; Young, 2017, 2010). Young (2017) claims that, exposure to internet will eventually lead to exposure to pornography, cyber bullying and other internet risks, which can deteriorate kids’ mental health; Young (2017) also says that, not everything on internet is for educational purposes, for some stuff contain hidden meaning which also may cause disturbances for a child’s psychological health. Additionally, the government’s health counselors alerted that, youngsters who get lots of screen time hours are more prone to adopt psychological disorders (Delmar-Morgan). Depression, anxiety and loneliness are some examples of the psychological disorders children can develop from the use of internet (Delmar-Morgan, 2014; Young, 2017, 2010). As a proof, a correlation between depression and exposure to internet was discovered by a research (Caplan, 2002, 2003; Kim et al., 2006; Morhan-Martin & Schumacher, 2002). Also, as for loneliness, lots of conducted researches proved that there is a correlation between the use of internet and loneliness (Amichai-Hamburger & Ben-Artzi, 2003; Bozoglan et al., 2013; Erdogan, 2008). Furthermore, children may get exposed to pornography, sexual abuse, cybersex and may become victims of pedophiles with the use of internet (Arnaldo, 2001; Powell, 2007). As an evidence, kids themselves most often claim of getting exposed to pornography on internet (Schaik & Soesters, 2006). All these are not something newly invented by the internet; “child pornography” and “paedophilea” have a long past; however, internet is just another gateway that allows further reach of child abuse (Arnaldo, 2001, p.1). Moreover, children may get exposed to cyber bullying as well (Young, 2017). Actually, sexual abuse through internet can just be another type of cyber bullying (Willard, 2007). Sexual abuse and cyber bullying also are two contributing factors that help in declining the mental health of children and can cause them depression and anxiety (Powell, 2007; Hinduja & Patchin 2014).
Finally, Kids under the age of 12 shouldn’t be allowed to utilize internet as it may cause addiction and cause reliance on technology and distractions that would decline their educational performance (Young, 2017). A real life example is a teenage boy that was reported by his mother and father to a health center that he was no longer succeeding in his education due to wasting around 1800 minutes per week gaming on the internet (Young ; De Abreu, 2010). Another form of internet addiction is playing online too much (Young ; De Abreu, 2010). 8% of online players was proven to show morbid manners of gaming, and this is according to votes done by 1,178 young people between the ages 8 and 18 years in the US (Gentile, 2009). Even with restrictions of age and sex applied to the game on the internet, those gamers are very highly estimated to show a declination in their educational status (Young ; De Abreu, 2010). Again, Young ; De Abreu (2010) state that, with more hours spent on video games, students start to dwell on their studies. Also, Young (2017) discussed that, schools are being dependent on technology and internet and often use them when it’s not really needed. Additionally, Taylor (2012) stated that, research show that studying online can be highly distractive and can be really uncomfortable to the brain due to the disturbing ads that frequently pop around the articles. Moreover, surprisingly, more than two thousands students reported that they think that internet is actually bad when it comes to education and that they’d wish to be prohibited from it while studying to concentrate better (Ebdrup, 2014).
Gold (2015), believes that, internet is highly beneficial for children. Kids may grow more intelligent and wiser by the use of internet (Gold, 2015). A research showed that technology can improve the standards of education (Yusuf, 2005). “Basically, the Internet offers two main benefits which are communication and information” (Warren et. al.,1998; as cited in Dogruer, Eyyam ; Menevis 2011). However, Young (2017) argues that with all the benefits of technology, it can still be highly addictive and cause alienation from society. Studies show that kids nowadays waste around more than 7 hours each day on media (Strasburger, Jordan ; Donnerstein, 2010). Even less than that amount of time spent on social media and technology can get kids attached to their devices much easier and can even cause addiction (Young, 2017). Also, Studies show that in 2011, more than 50% of children up to the age of 8 own a technological device, and by the year 2013, this figure has increased up to 75% ( Nanji, 2013). Young (2017) claims that, it’s really dangerous for children that age to own any smart device. It was proven by many researches that almost any screen time for children can be leave a significant impact on children’s social behaviors, their mental health and their school performance (Kardaras, 2016; Delmar-Morgan, 2014; Young ; De Abreu, 2010). Again, Taylor (2012) states that learning online is actually ineffective and disturbing to the brain and this was proved by a research. Moreover, physical problems may result such as, lack of sleep, which was proven to be linked to the use of internet (Kim et al., 2018).
As a conclusion, internet might be an invention that has manifested our lives and made it easier. However, it is full of dangers and risks that must not be overlooked (Young, 2017). Children are not well equipped to over-take the risks and survive the holes internet possesses. Even under well supervision and with restrictions, internet is still hazardous to kids; therefore, any child under the age of 12 must not be allowed to use internet. Internet is like a small village, however no one is known for who they really are on the internet. That’s why many pedophiles appear on the internet and try their best to prey on naïve children who are vulnerable. Also, internet is full of pornography and at some point kids who use internet will be exposed to it and this will ruin their innocence hence their behaviors. Moreover, Internet has a luring way of getting kids addicted to it. This addiction creates aggressive and violent behaviors in children and whenever they are kept away from their devices they react in an impulsive violent way. All these can contribute in declining a child’s mental health and contribute in distracting them from their studies and cause them to fail which would result in even more distress for them and their parents. There is no restrictions or any type of supervision that can prevent kids from incurring these bad effects. Therefore, the best way is to fully prevent children up to the age of 12 years to be exposed to the internet.
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