Is The Internet Affecting Your Child’s Development?

Today the internet has become a prominent source of information, entertainment, and interaction, which is why everyone is hooked on the internet.

The use of the internet among kids is advantageous for their educational purpose. Today there are many videos, games, music, animations created for kids to make their learning process easier and entertaining. 

Kids tend to get extremely excited and enthusiastic when it comes to viewing anything virtually. For example, kids learn several words just by watching cartoons. Hence, it is almost impossible to avoid children from using it.

We are all aware of the saying, too much of anything is bad for anyone. Every parent’s concern today is that their children’s too much Internet use would affect their child’s growth and development. But does the internet affect children’s development? 

There are several advantages of the internet for children. However, the disadvantages of using the internet, without any doubt, outweigh the advantages.

How is The Internet Affecting Children’s Development?

Cognitive Ability

The internet reports any information that we are in search of in a matter of seconds. It has made the educational queries or issues of children way easier and efficient. 

However, as expected, the rise of technology has contributed to the decline of reading and learning among children. Children are more concerned about playing new games. This has significantly made a negative impact on their critical thinking and cognitive ability.

Today, children are not creative, imaginative, learn new concepts, or think from their perspective on any issues. 

For instance, whenever they have assignments, they take help from the internet to complete their assignment. 

No efforts are implied; rather, they go straight to the internet for answers and solely depend on the internet.

Physical Development

Kid’s obsession and addiction to the internet have increased their screen time significantly. The media screen emits many harmful rays, primarily blue light, the most harmful ray for one’s eyes. The huge amount of blue light exposure will avoid kids from having a good sleep. Their sleep schedule gets uneven and imbalanced; their body clock is affected.

It is suggested that school-going children should sleep for 9-11 hours every day at a minimum. But children’s sleep hours today have decreased to 6-7 hours every day. Kids will have insomnia and will have a difficult time going to bed. 

The human body goes through different biological functions when in sleep. Our metabolism is active even in sleep. The body repairs cells and restores energy; the brain processes new knowledge and disposes of radioactive wastes. 

Such biological processes in kids are affected when they get less sleep, which then gradually affects their growth and development, physically and mentally.

Another common problem seen is an increase in obesity among children. Over the past few years, child obesity has increased exponentially, leading to several major health issues. 

Physical exercise plays a vital role in the growth and development of kids. But when they are constantly hooked with their electronics, it prevents them from going out. Going outdoors and having sufficient sunlight would also positively impact the body as it gets Vitamin D.

Limiting activities within the digital world boundary will directly or indirectly affect every aspect of living, growth, and development.

Privacy and Safety

Children are at risk than ever before in terms of their privacy and security. One’s digital image, information, or footprint is way more public than we expect it to be. 

Moreover, kids are not aware of the consequences of making their information public. Through the internet, kids’ are exposed in front of the world; they can get many positive and negative comments on anything they post publicly. Positive comments can inspire kids to do better work, while negative comments can mentally affect their kids. 

Likewise, when your kids make their posts public, there is more risk of getting misused. Strangers can misuse, blackmail, and bully your kids using their posts. 

For instance, cyberbullying is not linked with just overusing the internet. It is associated with the unawareness and carelessness of privacy on the internet. Hence it is important for you to teach your kids about cybersecurity.

Emotional Development

The internet can also affect their kids’ emotional development, as they can be victims of cyberbullying and many other cybercrimes. 

Children can talk with random strangers without knowing they can harm them. These strangers can misuse your kids’ information, bully and harass them. This will have negative effects on their social and emotional development.

Likewise, you can see teenagers on the internet are more concerned with likes and comments. They post anything and everything just to get more likes and comments than their peers. 

Whenever kids’ make any post on the internet, they constantly check their posts to count their likes and comments. Because of this reason, they can face anxiety, suffer from stress, or even depression.

Social Development

You cannot ignore the fact that the internet is the only platform where it is possible to make hundreds of friends and have interactions with them.  

Children might connect and interact openly in the virtual world, but they tend to hesitate to make conversations and interactions in the real world. Because of the excessive use of the internet, kids lack socialization skills.

For instance, whenever visitors or guests are in the house, kids are not often seen around; they prefer to be locked inside the room with their devices. They do not like to have conversations with guests.

Having such difficulty in making conversations at a young age might not be of many problems, but they will face different problems when they become an adult. 

In this competitive world, where nothing can be done without being open, one who is anti-social or reticent will have a hard time in the real world.

What Parents Can Do To Encourage The Healthy Development of Kids?

It is your responsibility as a parent to protect your kids from the internet’s negative use. You must ensure that the internet is not affecting your kids’ mental and physical development. 

For that, you should first be acknowledged of what the internet does from using too much of it and how that would affect children’s development. Thereby, you should influence and teach your kids the right way to evade the risks.

Following are the ways how you can assure safety from the internet and healthy growth for your small ones:

Encourage Physical Activities

Encourage Physical Activities
Child doing physical exercise

Physical activities are the most important activities for growing kids. Kids must engage themselves in physical exercise for at least one hour a day. To make your kids’ bones, muscles, and joints healthy, you have to encourage your kids to do physical exercise daily. 

Many kids these days prefer playing online games over going out and playing some real games. If you let your kids stay inside their room and play online games for long hours, it can adversely affect their health.

Shift Their Attention From Virtual to Real-World Relationships

Teaching kids to communicate and interact with different people in the real world right from an early age would help them grow as confident people in the future. 

The importance of real-world connections should be educative to the kids so that they will not entertain and prioritize virtual relationships. 

Teaching kids to socialize at a young age will help them to socialize when they grow old. They will not feel awkward and unforgettable around people when you teach your kids to socialize at a young age.

Filter Kids Internet Use

Is the internet demolishing my kids’ growth and development? Instead of asking this question, you should focus on how your kids are using the internet and whether their internet activities are positive or negative.

Therefore, instead of worrying about what your kids are doing on the internet, you should enable safe search methods and other features to filter inappropriate content on the internet.

For instance, some aggressive games on the internet might change the behavior of the kid accordingly. Such games would negatively influence them, resulting in being aggressive and hostile in real life. 

It would help if you recognize the factors that are taking control of your kid’s behavior.

Know Your Kid’s Online Friends

Numerous people make fake accounts to stalk, mock, harass or cyberbully others. Kids who are not cyber wise tend to make friends, communicate and share personal information with unknown people. Therefore, you should make sure that their kids are within a good friend circle. 

This would avoid kids from the chances of getting cyberbullying and getting involved in any cybercrime. And it will minimize the chances of suffering from any mental issues.

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