The second half of the 20th century brought the Internet into our homes. Unlike television, the Internet is a virtual center of human activity ready for us to participate in with a few keystrokes on a computer.
Swiftly the Internet traffic grew and attracted our children. They go to it on school computers, on homes computers, at their friends’ house, on library computers and even at grandma’s house. They took to the new media like fish take to water. It is no wonder; the Internet is dubbed their new playground.
Playgrounds are places where fun rules. And playground activities are rehearsals of valuable life skills. The Internet activities are no exception. They provide educational, social, and analytical skills training. Thus the Internet is too valuable an experience for a child not to be involved in its educational promises.
Risks of the Internet
The threat of physical danger is rare on the Internet. But this new playground does host a small element that spreads hatred, pornographic material, and seeks to commercially prey.
Our young ones are not always the prime targets of these nefarious activities. But during an unsupervised first encounter, an innocent child can easily be ensnared within these amoral webs. Such an encounter may prove life altering.
Our objectives are to discuss some risks and dangers our children are likely to face on the Internet, and to offer suggestions to strengthen them against those dangers.
The Rewards of the Internet
The rewards of the Internet are many: Entertainment, instant communication, expression of one’s thoughts via web pages or through chat room participation, communication via email, visits to resources of cultural, scientific, and current importance; all with a few computer keystrokes.
Surveys document our children use the Internet responsibly. They do homework, communicate by email, text message, send instant messages, go to chat rooms, make scrapbooks, swap music, play games, construct games, create websites, write stories and some present content.
These activities develop social skills, analytical skills, and research and presentation techniques. All are desirable skills for the electronic age.
Internet: A Peril to Society, Our Defense
Despite the positive boasts of the Internet, this media provides cover for a small population that takes advantage of the innocent; in particular the young. This cover is unwittingly provided by free access and the unsupervised nature of the Internet. It is through these attributes that the dangerous ideas and amoral activities are easily disseminated.
Disseminating views that are consonant with the public good is desirable. Those that are in dissonance with the public good must be countered. Society’s best defense against this dissonance is provided by parents who have pass their values and beliefs to their children before others can imprint them.
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