This generation of kids (and in fact even the ones before them) have often been portrayed as fat couch potatoes by the media at large, children who are slowly loosing the ability to use language and their legs correctly and who are developing a distorted view of the world based on bad communication skills, the Internet being for porn and mass killings with terrorists in Russian airports.
There will always be people to defend them — mostly a mix of gaming enthusiasts, the occasional scientist and games manufacturers PR departments — but the results of a recent survey are fairly condemning where they show that kids are spending nearly eight hours online every day!
If you don’t quite appreciate how bad that is, assume if you will that the child cannot access the web at school (although with mobile internet and IT lessons that isn’t strictly true, but bear with me) then you have to come to the conclusion that they spend that eight hours online when at home, and if they get back at 3pm that takes them all the way to 11pm at night (presumably their bed time).
That leaves very little time not spent online, and it would appear from this that ‘being on the Internet’ is becoming nor just a pastime but somewhat of an obsession. Add into the equation multitasking (such as playing on Xbox Live whilst being on the laptop) then the kids surveyed were racking up about 10 hours.
If that’s not bad enough, then the question of what they actually do online has some pretty sobering answers. Sixty two percent (310) of the 500 children said that they lie to their parents about what they look at online, and fifty three percent (265) regularly delete the browser history so that their parents cannot see what they have been on.
Not only does this display a massive amount of dishonesty (and looking at inappropriate material) but looking between the lines nine percent obviously don’t feel the need to delete their history despite lying to their parents which suggests either that they think their parents are incapable of monitoring what they do, or that they have no control over the child in question: neither of which is really ideal.
But unfortunately it doesn’t stop there: 2% have met a stranger in real life that they first met online, 11% have been bullied, 5% have been on a webcam with a stranger, 25% have sent or received inappropriate content… the worrying statistics go on. But can we realistically do anything about it, or would it just be a case of closing the stable door after the horse has bolted?
Well to a degree, no. We live in the information age and we are surrounded by so much ‘stuff’ that it is far too big a job to try and push it all back — you won’t be able to get rid of sensationalised TV, scantily clad models or swearing comedians all of whom, it is claimed, have had a detrimental impact on kids. And what if you do take your little boy’s internet away? There will always be a way for him to get around it — this kind of stuff is everywhere.
So surely the only answer is education and teaching them how to be safe online. Not just to the kids (porn = wrong, pirating = wrong, going and meeting with strangers = very wrong) but also the parents, to show them what their children are really doing and try to help them restrict what they can see and do without restricting their freedom and privacy. Admittedly it is a very fine line, but as it stands I don’t think anyone (apart from perhaps the owners of these websites) will be pleased by these stats, and unfortunately many may be surprised — people just don’t know what their kids are up to, and perhaps it’s time that they did.
Via – PC Advisor