Parents Are Slacking In Regulating The Youngsters’ Use Of The Internet Argumentative Essay Sample
Type of paper: Argumentative Essay
Topic: Family, Internet, Children, Parents, Education, Information, Life, People
The Internet has been proving to be a clever tool in more than one field of life, whether business, office or for personal use, our life without the internet seems downright impossible. We use it for the primary tool for interaction, for managing our financial dealings and on top of everything else; the internet has also been executing the role of a full-time teacher in our lives. Similarly, the significance of the internet is no less notable in the lives of our children. They use at as a study guide for their school projects and assignment and also as means of staying in touch with their friends. Chris Davies, who is the course director of MSc in e-Learning at Oxford is of the opinion that providing the children free access to the internet for course-related activities is of somewhat of a mixed blessing. The children are working on the web often make use of different multitasking techniques to make work fun for themselves, which impacts their productivity in a very positive way. The problem, however, is that the internet is not always a good place for the youngsters to wander around unsupervised.
The internet is a wild place that could have devastating impacts on the psychology of children, as well as their character, if used inappropriately. The primary duty to take accountability for a child’s internet use falls on the parents because a child spends most of the time on the internet at home, under their supervision. Therefore, the question that is crucial to the wellbeing of the children is this; how well are the parents overseeing their responsibilities when it comes to their child’s use of the internet? an article published during 2012 in the magazine ‘The telegraph’ shed light on the results of a study conducted by Ofcom according to which, even though 91 percent of the children live in houses that have internet access, only half of the parents of children between the ages of 5 and 15 supervise their internet use. Even though, these statistics apply to U.K but the situation in the United States is no less different. The aforementioned study provides very unsatisfactory results and supports the conclusion that parents are not fulfilling their responsibility towards their child’s use of the internet.
Why are the parents not able to supervise?
In a survey carried out by Microsoft, 1000 adults some of which were parents were asked when a child should be allowed access to the internet. Most individuals are of the view that children should be allowed internet access at the age of 8. While 8 is the age is appropriate, the question of supervision still remains; is it wise to let them use the internet without supervision? Wise or not, ninety-four percent of the parents allow their children aged 8 or above unsupervised internet access on one device or a social site like Facebook.
We have seen the statistics, now let’s study the reasons. Why is non-supervision so common in the American household? The problem roots from the scattering of electronics all over the house. The houses in the past had a common computer that was kept at a familiar location like the living room, and all the children and sometimes even the parents had to use the same computer. Whether intentionally or not, the adults had a means of finding out what their child is up to on the internet. The problem today is that there are so many devices that are equipped with the facility of the internet like the laptops, Smartphone, and tablets, and thanks to the Wi-Fi, which provides internet all over the house, the young ones are free to use internet wherever they please, whether in common areas or in their bedrooms. The free availability of these devices all over the house has made it increasingly difficult for the parents to control each and every appliance which is within the child’s reach that not supervising doesn’t seem like a very hard choice.
What is the cost that the children are paying?
I’m sure the at least once in our lives, we might have caught even if the slightest glimpse of what the dark side of the internet looks like. We may have been bullied by any of our peers, we may have lost important information on the internet or maybe someone created a fake profile in our name. The trouble is, being adults, we might know how to deal with these risks of the internet and sometimes even we are defeated by these challenging situations. Not very long ago, I had an opportunity of watching a film starring Emily Osment. The title was ‘Cyberbully’. The movie opened my eyes to some very dark truths and showed me how teenagers are not well equipped in dealing with their problems, and they need the adults to help them through it. Taylor Hillridge, the lead character of the movie was defamed by a person hiding behind a fake Facebook profile, and following the fiasco, she had become the subject of ridicule for not only her class fellows, but people from all over her school. She had to read and face through all the blasphemous things that her peers had to say about her character.
The story mentioned above is just one example. There are a number of other distressing scenarios that the children could easily get caught up in which could shake their emotional well-being to its very core. Our children are not the best judges of the data that they should share on the internet. The youth of the present day is very expressive and they give out every single piece of information about their routines and their personal lives on social networking sites without even realizing how much of this information is visible to the people and how it could be used against them.
Dan Tynan, who is the tech columnist at Yahoo, explains how the personal information that we give out could be used. According to Tynan, every website that we visit collects information about us after which Data brokers put together all the information about us, our travel habits, sexual preferences, and even our religious beliefs. The children especially until their mid-teens are still busy building and understanding their identities while there is already available on the internet a permanent record of their identity and their personal preferences. Another very scary reality is the ability of the people to spy on us and our children through the webcams, and unfortunately, every phone, tablet, and laptop comes with an inbuilt webcam which could easily be hacked into.
Children are also free to access pornographic as well as racist content on the web. The content could also include material with extreme violence and also content that promotes self-harm and suicidal notions. Another trouble is the wide variety of predators that feed on the innocence of children and can compel them to cross boundaries that they may otherwise hesitate to step outside of. The adolescents often build friendships over the internet with people that they have never met before, and these people could cause serious threats to the adolescents and use them for their illicit purposes.
What is the penalty that the parents might have to endure?
We have already established that it is a moral obligation to the parents to take charge of how their off springs use the internet. But do they have a legal obligation to do the same? According to a state judge, in Illinois, the parents can face trial if they fail to do so. In an actual case that was brought before Judge Ward S. Arnold of McHenry County, in which a young boy had created sexual images of his classmate by replacing her face on a sexual image, the boy was charged with defamation. Not only had that but the aggrieved also pressed charged against the boy’s father J. Bowen Palenske, of Woodstock, Ill for defamation, invasion of privacy and two forms of negligence; negligence to supervise the child, and negligence to leave in the boy’s custody questionable content. Although the privacy and defamation counts were dismissed by Judge Arnold, he found the father guilty of negligence and directed him to pay damages of more than $50,000.
Even though there are many laws that are in place to prevent bullying and distress to the children on the internet, these laws cannot deter the children firstly because they need to be made aware of the laws, and secondly, they require guidance regarding their boundaries on the internet, both of which could be taught by the child’s parents.
How can the parents do better?
We have already established that the parents are responsible for guiding their child in the use of the internet, the question that is to be answered at this point is this; what steps can we take to make the situation better for the kids all around? According to the San Diego County district attorney, 95 percent of the schools in the US are now connected to the internet. More than 45 million of the children between the ages of 10 and 17 use the internet and amongst these 45 million adolescents, one in every five has been made a sexual offer to, one in every five has stumbled upon pornography without intention, and about 60 percent have received e-mails or instant messages from strangers and no less than half replied back. Because the use of the internet has become so widespread, it is about time that we take steps for the children’s safety and well-being.
In one of its publications, the Federal Bureau of Investigation proposes that the parents take the following safety precautions. The most important step is to communicate with the children regarding the dangers of sex offenders on the internet. The parents should also review the content that their child accesses on the internet. Any pornographic content should raise red flags. The numbers that are dialed from the home phone should be investigated for signs of any danger or threat to the child. Any device that the child uses should be filtered to block any questionable internet websites and messages. For very young offsprings, it is advisable to allow internet use on a device that he/she shares with the parent so that their activity could be monitored. It is also a good idea to encourage the children to share their problems with either of the parents so that if the child is at threat, they could take steps towards their protection.
Children are our country’s most important asset and the protection of this asset is and should always be our primary concern. We should make sure we educate them properly regarding the ethics and legalities of using the internet. Only then will they be able to make the most optimum use of internet. It is always a good idea to make sure that they are not addicted and always obsessed with their life on the internet and for their sake, physical and outdoor activities could be encouraged. It is always a good idea for the parents to participate with their children in leisure activity both on and off of the internet. That way, it is easier to teach and educate them on every topic they require educating.
Attorney, San Diego County District. Protecting Children Online. <http://www.sdcda.org/preventing/protecting-children-online/facts-for-parents.html>.
Davies, Chris. Pupils are disadvantaged if they don't have internet access at home. 11 January 2013. <http://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/teacher-blog/2013/jan/11/school-technology-learning-young-people>.
IMDb. Cyberbully. 2011. <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1930315/synopsis?ref_=ttpl_pl_syn>.
Investigation, Federal Bureau of. A Parent’s Guide to Internet Safety. <http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/parent-guide/parentsguide.pdf>.
Richmond, Shane. Can parents control the websites their children look at? 24 April 2012. <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/internet/9223507/Can-parents-control-the-websites-their-children-look-at.html>.
Smith, Ms. Most parents, allow unsupervised internet access to children at age 8. 16 October 2013. <http://www.networkworld.com/article/2225579/microsoft-subnet/most-parents-allow-unsupervised-internet-access-to-children-at-age-8.html>.
Times, The New York. Are Parents Legally Responsible for Their Children's Internet Use? 28 December 2000. <http://www.nytimes.com/2000/12/08/technology/08CYBERLAW.html>.
Tynan, Dan. The Five Biggest Threats to Your Kids’ Privacy, and What You Can Do About Them. 10 March 2014. <https://www.yahoo.com/tech/the-five-biggest-threats-to-your-kids-privacy-and-79062872970.html>.