Over the past few years, Internet use has been increasing rapidly among children and adults alike. We all rely on it for everyday purposes, whether it be checking the weather, beating our high score on Candy Crush, or researching information for articles. There is no doubt that one of the largest group of Internet users are teens. In fact, 95% of them use the internet, with 81% using some form of social network.
The internet provides easy access to social outlets, entertainment, and information – useful for everyday needs. But the real question is, does it do more harm than good to us? The Internet has received a generally negative reputation, and many suggest that it can affect how social and active teens are, ultimately leading to health risks. So what do we really know about how screen-time affects us?
Adolescence is a critical time for brain development. So, is it possible that Internet usage can “rewire” the process as the brain is still growing? Kathryn L. Mills, a PhD student of University College London, states that it is doubtful that the Internet can actually alter the configuration of teens’ brains. This invalidates the stigma that staring at a screen can actually ruin our brains. Mills elaborates, “Even if Internet use is impacting the developing brain during adolescence, we must not forget that the brains of adults remain capable of functional change.” If this is the case, then why do people still believe the Internet is destroying kids’ brains?
On the other hand, while the Internet may not have a direct effect on teenager’s health, it still can affect behavioral aspects. Since so much time is invested in social media and online entertainment, teens may start ignoring their outside lives and become absorbed into their virtual screens. Prolonged periods online can lead to becoming antisocial, further leading to academic and moral problems; those who rely on the Internet are much more likely to become depressed. Additionally, the World Wide Web has virtually no law. This makes almost anything accessible, and there is no way of knowing whether a resource or information is legitimate, resulting in possible cyber dangers.
Technology has been making quick advancements, with the Internet being one of its most prominent, and we too have been keeping up with it. Going online may constitute many risks, but as long as the younger generated is well-educated on how to stay safe on the Internet, we should all enjoy the internet and everything it has to offer the world.