Done Right, Internet Use Can Increase Learning And Skills
• The term ‘surfing’ was coined in 1992 by New York librarian, Jean Armour Polly.
• 49% of internet users are from Asia. China topped the list with 854 million users, followed by India with 560 million users in the first quarter of 2020
• Google processes 7 to 10 billion search queries per day and uses 1000 computers in 0.2 seconds to retrieve an answer.
• The internet today is 11502 days old!
The advent of the world wide web has opened floodgates to a vast amount of information accessible to everyone worldwide. Today, you can get insights on anything from a pen to a penthouse! This plethora of knowledge and detail is literally at your screen-step; you are one click away to seeing the corner of the globe from the very seat you are sitting in at the moment!
The internet has revolutionized how we comprehend any concept in today’s day and age; receiving answers is micro-seconds away. This year, it is estimated that over 50 billion internet-connected devices would be used worldwide, which would connect 7.8 billion people. For every passing second, 88,555 GB of internet traffic is passing through. In their formative years of grasping things quickly, children stand to benefit the most out of this internet boom.
Children develop digital skills when they spend time on a wide range of online activities. Even playing video games online and watching videos can help young minds open up to educational, social, and informative experiences online. Online activities, apart from entertainment, can help children develop some critical technical skills as well.
An American study has linked the increase of IQ levels in the current generation from the previous one to more online exposure. Online educational and institutional practices can increase cognitive skills. The internet has virtually given every child an infinite library via which they can do extensive research on the subjects they are interested in. Children can increase their know-how, be smarter, and march on in their daily lives in academia more efficiently.
Using social media platforms and connecting with friends and family can promote a sense of belonging and self-esteem. They can develop their own identities through self-expression. With all its apparent bouquet of benefits, there is also a perceived risk for children using the internet, and, if unsupervised, it can harm your kid’s gentle mind. They can be exposed to sexual content and become addicted to it; they could be inadvertently exposed to self-harm, hate speech, suicide content, etc.
As per an article published in the Brand Equity Section in the Economic Times, a disturbingly increasing number of children in India are visiting ‘inappropriate’ websites compared to countries like the UK and the USA. Children might end up speaking to harmful strangers online who might attempt to influence the kid in the wrong way. They could be addicted to online gaming, leading them to ignore their academics completely. Due to these perceived evils of the internet, many parents have shunned the idea, ultimately making their children devoid of the actual benefits derived from its use. Children stand to face unprecedented risks from the online world; however, there are proven benefits that they can derive if done in a monitored way.
Policymakers responsible for internet regulation in countries need to ensure that steps are taken toward having a balanced and integrated approach for children’s online exposure without hindering their growth and learning benefits. Instead of stopping children from using the internet or worrying about the time they spend online, parents should be a part of their kid’s digital journey and have a fruitful discussion about specific content that the child is seeking online. They should also discuss perceived risks so that children are aware and go about their activities online in a careful manner. They must actively manage the way their children interact with connected devices to ensure that security and privacy measures are implemented. Such support and intervention from parents encourage children to participate in a broader range of online activities and reduces their exposure to illicit materials, which may cause harm.
Schools should also enable teachers to guide children on effective ways to search for information on the internet and spot the difference between the correct and the harmful. It can also form a part of the school curriculum and classroom discipline. Only through a guided and monitored approach can children reap the benefits of internet use and enhance their skills and abilities.
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