It is virtually impossible to keep your children away from the Internet in today's world. Vast amounts of information are readily accessible and at their fingertips. For this reason, the solution is not to ban children from utilizing this important and educational tool. Supervision, however, is necessary
The Internet undoubtedly is an integral part of our lives and the lives of our children. Though access to the Internet and what it has to offer is extensive and in many instances beneficial, one must be aware of the negative social and psychological implications it may have on children. It is crucial to monitor the kind of access your child has on this matter.
Psychologist Ayça Bulut from the Central Hospital looks at the importance of monitoring and for what a guardian should look when allowing their child access the Internet.
The right kind of control
One cannot escape the close connection children have to computer and the Internet.
With various gadgets such as smartphones and tablets readily available, children do not necessarily need a computer to access the Internet.
It is not surprising that they would be spellbound by the colorful pixels on the screen and choose to spend their time in virtual reality compared to the dull and uncommunicative reality in which they live. A child's need to use the Internet will vary according to their age.
For this reason it is important for the guardian to assess the appropriate use and duration of a child's online experience. Controlled use of the Internet is important for the child's social, emotional and cognitive development.
Age is important
A child's intellectual comprehension, emotional connection and social and language skills develop primary through age six. Family is the first point of reference in which their social skills begin to develop and is followed by school. It is at this age that a child feels the need express and articulate themselves, react to situation, spend time with others, make new friends, play and academically advance.
Allowing a child access to a computer before the age of two may hinder a child's development, so therefore it is recommended that a child be distanced from access to a computer until after the age of three. The attention span of a child aged two to four is limited to 20 minute intervals. Therefore, allowing a child to be occupied with the Internet beyond this time span can be disadvantageous for his or her development. Monitoring your child's access and the kinds of programs they utilize is important. Ensuring they are using age-appropriate programs is crucial.
Children between the age of five and six will tend to want to spend time on the computer alone, but it is the guardian's responsibility to keep an eye on access and the kind of things in which they engage. At this age, they are curious and want to explore what the world has to offer and the guardian may facilitate this curiosity.
Exposing a child to information for which they are emotionally and mentally not ready may be harmful to his or her development. The maximum access a child between the ages of five and eight should have is no more than an hour three days a week. Furthermore, a child's ability to use the computer well is not an indication of his or her intelligence.
Caution for older children
Discussing the duration and what your older child may have access to on the Internet will develop their understanding of the need for control and oversight. The important thing to remember is that it is the guardians' responsibility to provide alternative options that are interesting and educational for the child. A guardian should be aware and cautious if a child is using the computer and the Internet as a means of distancing themselves from the family.
Incorrect or wrongful Internet use may have adverse effects
Wrongful use of the Internet may create issues such as declined interest in schoolwork, level of concentration, motivation and recession in language development. Lack of control or oversight of a child's use of the Internet may create a dependency in the child.
A child being subject to inappropriate information at an early stage may create tendency toward violence, sexual references and inappropriate language. Leaving a child unattended with the use of the Internet may also be dangerous as the parent does not know who the child is contacting. Technology may be viewed as a doubleedged sword. Incorrect use may have detrimental effects but when utilized in the correct manner can be a very effective tool.