Every time I sit with my laptop and textbook both open at the same time, my mother narrates to me her research stories. She would have to walk 2 hours from home to reach her “Google”, walk through long, narrow corridors with “data” stored on either side with the unique scent of old books inspiring her to find all the information she needed to submit her assignment before the deadline. I am grateful to the internet for saving me all that trouble, yet I would accuse it of making me lazy.
Over the past decade, the internet has made a huge impact on every discipline and has changed the way the world functions. Initially created to facilitate communication, the internet today has impacted the world’s economy. Every deed has been digitized: with the touch of a finger, one can do anything he sets his mind to, be it shopping, booking tickets, acquiring knowledge, being updated on the latest news, designing, spreading awareness, or anything else. The internet is being used by a wide range of people-from tiny tots to university students, from cab drivers to IT professionals – almost everyone has a smartphone these days. Though the internet has provided a way for us to move forward, advancing in technology and making the best use of it, this great platform has its own setbacks. According to a recent study by doctors in a developing country, 61.8 % percent of the adolescents aged 12-19 in their study were sleep deprived due to their late night activities such as listening to music, browsing the internet and watching television series online; many more were found to be addicted to social media.
Firstly, let us delve into the topic of children aged 3 to 8 years using the internet. Do they really need it at all? I would firmly declare yes, even pre-school children can be benefitted from the internet. Days have gone by, when one would learn the alphabets with charts and papers. But in the 21st century, technology has brought enormous changes to the field of education. However, this does not mean that a 5 year old child should be allowed to use the internet by himself or herself. The internet can be provided to the children under adult supervision. For children of the age 8-12, the internet is used mostly to play games online and watch movies. Yet, the violent acts of killing and shooting are brought to the fore of the child’s mind through games and videos. They really do not know what they are doing on the internet. In order to ensure cyber security, parents should monitor the games that the children play and the apps they use.
Children of the ages 12 to 16, are unaware of security threats such as hacking, identity theft, viruses and exposure to scams, and their consequences. Middle school children subject to cyber-bullying are most likely to try and kill themselves as they are not able to overcome peer pressure. At the same time, they may end up watching and reading age-inappropriate videos and articles, which might encourage them in any malpractice that they see on a screen. This does not, however, mean that children should be limited to using the internet only in the presence of adults, because children of this age group demand privacy, and are in the “I know it all” phase, which would in all likelihood end with them rebelling all the more if this prohibitive act is enforced. The installation of safety softwares that filter access to such sites according to the parent’s wish could be a possible solution.
The effects of social media (and the internet in general) has the largest impact on the group of people aged 17-25. The consequences they face for the tiny acts on public internet platforms are huge. A study found that at least 800,000 minors had been harassed on Facebook. By spending less time face to face with loved ones, true relationships are lost and adolescents create connections with unknown people that probably do not end well. The best possible solution for this would be for parents to restrict these “young adults” by initiating conversations about the inconveniences and consequences caused by such toxic relationships and other social media dangers.
Therefore, having discussed all the flaws of the internet, can one conclude that the ban of the internet in colleges is justified? Far from it. In spite of all the above mentioned disadvantages of the internet, today, the internet has become a basic need for university students – sharing notes on whatsapp groups has replaced the use of photocopiers; online payment of fees has replaced the idea of long queues and registrations for competitions have become so much easier; information about college events are being spread so rapidly; and above all, clicking selfies with professors at the end the semester has become much easier. The internet has become a part and parcel of daily life. It is up to the youth to learn to use it the right way. Perhaps colleges and schools can organize seminars or talks on the hazards of the online world to create awareness of the evils online. The choice, ultimately, is ours.
Picture Credits : docmate