Today, almost every home has an internet connection. Online areas, which are needed in different categories such as shopping, entertainment, education and socialization, also attract the attention of children. Internet use is beneficial for studying, playing educational games, watching instructional videos. For this reason, children should not be kept away from the internet completely. There are certain points that parents should pay attention to in order not to harm their children from the use of the Internet. Paying attention to these points will enable the child to use the internet more efficiently.
WHAT ARE THE HARMS OF THE INTERNET FOR CHILDREN?
Developing technology and smart devices make internet use even more attractive. Like adults, children also have easy access to the internet from the devices they have. Children are very interested in spending time on websites on the internet that they access from smart phones, smart watches, tablets or computers. The long time spent is accompanied by some negativities. Children who spend most of their day on the Internet have difficulty adapting to real life. Intense internet use, especially during the pre-school period, affects the physical and mental development of children negatively.
A SEDENTARY LIFE AND ITS EFFECTS ON THE BODY
Children who spend a lot of time on the Internet move less. As a result, there is a pause in their physical development. Depending on the child’s metabolic rate, weight gain over time and the inability to lose the weights appear. This situation, which does not affect children much in primary school periods, disturbs them with adolescence. Psychological problems arise due to lack of self-confidence, introversion, and dislike of the appearance. Children may have to apply special treatment or nutrition programs to cope with these problems and lose weight.
EYE HEALTH AND VISION DISORDERS
Devices used to access the Internet, such as smartphones, tablets, computers, adversely affect eye health. Looking at a bright screen for a long time, reading the text on this screen and focusing on the colors will cause eye strain. For this reason, vision problems occur in children who are in front of the device for hours every day. Protectors or glasses used to alleviate screen effects are effective for short-term use. In long-term use, these preservatives also become ineffective.
REAL-LIFE ADAPTATION CHALLENGE
Regular long-term use of the Internet causes children to create an imaginary world. The child builds a world for himself with the videos he watches and the internet games he plays every day. Children who spend too much time in their own internet world do not participate in any other activities in real life. For this reason, they have difficulty communicating with their peers or playing games. In addition, unconscious internet use negatively affects children who are prone to schizophrenia and autism. It is recommended that children who are prone to such health problems should use the Internet for a very short period of time under parental control.
PLAYING HARMFUL GAMES
There are many different games for kids on the internet. Some of these games support children’s development and education. Others cause them to develop harmful habits. These harmful games prepared with cute and innocent characters lead children to violence. Some games do this directly, while others do it subconsciously. Parents should always be careful about games and control their children.
MEETING DIFFERENT PEOPLE ON SOCIAL MEDIA
One of the biggest harms of the internet is to use social media incorrectly. In this situation, which is harmful for both children and adults, people incur losses by trusting people they do not know. Malicious people who pretend to be different than they are can deceive both children and adults. To prevent this, children’s use of social media should be limited.
BENEFITS OF THE INTERNET FOR CHILDREN
When the Internet is used consciously, it is very beneficial for children’s development and learning. In order for children to use the internet efficiently, there must be a time limit. These periods are determined by the parents according to their age and their activities on the Internet. Children can use the internet to improve and entertain themselves without exceeding these times.
EASE OF LEARNING WITH VISUAL AND AUDIO DATA
Educational games, videos and activities help children grasp the topics more easily. The information given by these activities and games supported visually and audibly is more permanent. When children need information, they remember and use information with images or songs. You can access such resources from the sites and applications prepared for students to repeat the subject.
THE BENEFIT OF THE INTERNET IN IDENTIFYING AND DEVELOPING SPECIAL TALENTS
Each individual has their own unique abilities. Because children are younger, they do not fully realize their abilities. Internet games and applications have a great impact on the emergence of existing talents. For example, a child with a very good ear for music cannot discover it on his own. His success in games or activities related to music and notes reveals this ability. You can also benefit from the sites and applications on the internet for the development of emerging talents.
HELPS DEVELOP IMAGINATION
Games and activities played on the Internet help children develop their imaginations. Children who produce different strategies to be successful in games also improve their thinking power. In addition, games and activities contribute to the development of eye-hand coordination. The development of eye-hand coordination at an early age affects the success of children positively in the future.
HOW TO ENSURE SAFE INTERNET USE FOR CHILDREN
Parents need to be very careful so that children can spend time on the Internet unharmed. It is up to their families to spend time on the Internet for children who are not yet literate in the pre-school period. In this case, give your child the right to use the internet at certain times per day. During this time, you determine where your child will enter, what they will watch and do. Make him watch educational and educational songs or cartoons in the preschool period.
Children who can read and write at primary school age do not want to be dependent on their families for internet use. Do not impose strict rules on children who access the sites or games they want because they can read and write. Instead, talk about games and sites that are harmful on the Internet. Warn your child about this. If he suspects the security of a game or site, suggest that he seek your help. Thus, your child will share with you how he spends his time on the Internet without fear. For a more efficient use of the internet, it is possible to play lessons, projects or educational games according to the class in the primary school period.
It is more difficult to control the internet use of children who have reached secondary school and high school age. These children, who have a private space for themselves, generally do not want to share them with their parents. Instead of putting pressure on your child during this period, be more understanding. Don’t go overboard about what they don’t want to share with you. Internet usage time is higher in this period compared to other periods. This is a normal situation. As parents, try to reach information about what your child is doing on the internet without telling your child.
You can use special programs for children so that your child is least affected by the harmful aspects of the internet. Some websites or social media applications have special protection programs for children. Thanks to these programs, your child will reach safe content suitable for his/her age. Apart from these, access to harmful games and applications is restricted. You can take such precautions from the first time your child starts using the internet. Thus, your child will spend more productive time on the Internet.