The internet is a tool, and just like many tools it has the ability to be abused. The information age has given
people resources to instantly tap into nearly the entirety of human knowledge, receiving news, photos and
videos from around the world. And while in some instances it has made the globe smaller, it also has the
tendency to alienate people. We spend more and more time texting, messaging, and emailing, and old
fashioned human interaction has become less a part of our daily lives. For adults, it’s just another way we
get things done, and it’s up to the individual to decide when enough is enough. But for children, it can be
easily abused. Our kids need internet access. Kids use the internet to do their homework, watch videos and television shows, and stay in touch with friends and family who are otherwise separated by geography. But if they’re not monitored, kids can be exposed to stuff online they should never have to see, and it’s up to us parents to draw the line. We should certainly monitor what they’re doing on the internet, unless you want to come home and find your little girl has accidentally stumbled across some depraved pornographic web portal. But do we also need to monitor the amount of time they’re spending online?
Children’s brains are still developing into their teen years. And when our kids are elementary age or
younger, they are incredibly impressionable. The internet blasts a ton of information our way, and there
may be some correlation between attention deficit disorder and the jam-packed, multi-tasking routine
that is the norm these days. It is important that our kids spend the vast majority of their time in real-world
interaction, so they learn proper socialization skills and stay connected with ‘reality’. Too much time online,
especially playing those massive video games, can distort things. It’s up to you to decide how much time on
the internet is too much for your child, but you should keep tabs on their behavior at the very least. If you
find that your kid seems quiet, depressed, or isolated when they’re off the computer, it may be time to pull
It’s also a good idea to set specific rules regarding internet use. Kids may not always love our rules, but
they certainly need them. If you can set up the computer in a central part of the house as opposed to their
bedroom, it will be much easier to keep track. Behind closed doors, we have no idea what’s going on.
And recent studies have shown that whatever amount of time you think your children are spending online,
chances are it’s much much more.
Make sure you set up technology breaks, when their computer and smartphone must be powered down.
Dinner should certainly be one of those times. And for our littlest ones, introduce the internet slowly, and
only in small stretches. Help them see it as a tool, and guide them to the entertainment that’s appropriate
for their age. Otherwise, consider putting a password on the computer, so they need to get your permission
to log on. There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of internet usage, but the younger your child, the less of it
there should be. Do a broadband comparison to find the systems that offer password control. You’ll find it’s
pretty easy to set up.