With the rise of technology adoption worldwide, internet connection is also on the rise due to the need to stay connected. Most people own unique gadgets like computers and cell phones that can use internet. It is, therefore, a routine activity for people to stay connected through internet. People spent most of their time in the internet either through checking their mails or browsing. Some have social networks account where they can communicate with other people globally (Macho, pg 45). I am arguing against online social networking for children because most children have a tendency to spend most of their time in social networks, and end up wasting more time that they would have spent in doing creative activities. Social networks are beneficial because they have enhanced communication between people who are distance apart from each other. It is also beneficial because of the ability to connect with friends and relatives worldwide (Weiss, pg 98). Despite its advantages, it is not right for children to be given the freedom to spend most of their time in the social network. This process should not be totally restricted but should be moderated. Parents should restrict the time their children should spend on these sites.
The evolution of social networks began from Facebook, then twitter then Instagram and the latest application of Whatsapp. These social network sites are popular, and many people communicate and share photos and videos. It is obvious that technology changes the way people live and, therefore, the influence of social network is on the rise, and it has extended to the children. The most addictive social site is the use of Facebook; it is common to find that today many people own more than one Facebook accounts. People ranging from old to the children have been absorbed into the site, and they use almost every bit of their free time login in to Facebook. This site has a lot of things that one can spend most of their time browsing. It is addictive, and it demeans most people time to concentrate on other activities that would help them in their lives.
Most children at an average age of thirteen to sixteen years have been absorbed into the world of social networking. This is unpleasant strategy to raise children because they spend their time creating accounts for various sites. They do so because of the influence and the main reason of being in the social site under the influence is the ability to connect with friends, share photos and videos and even create new friends. The internet connection has no restriction on persons who are suppose to use it, and this has resulted to the rising number of children joining the social networks. In the event of being in the social network, the children could get exposed to other activities like video downloads, sharing unwanted photos and also internet bullying (Choo, pg 65).
These cases can make the children develop curiosity which is not a satisfactory result for social networking intensions. Even though the leading advantage is to connect with friends globally, the question will still lie on the fact that, are these children communicating for the good or bad? If for the good, are they sharing ideas that could help them develop their skills? In most cases parents do not go beyond restricting the time their children should spend online, they tend to have a positive view of children being connected to their friends. This has resulted to the negative impacts of children being given the freedom to spend online. Parents should, therefore, keep an eye on their children and also restrict their access to electronics because they are underage.
Sub-points for arguing against
There are risks that children who spend most of their time in the social network are likely to get exposed. These risks result from influence and also internet bullying. Take a look at a kid age thirteen years downloading videos that are meant to been viewed by adults. The kid will send the video to almost all his friends and sooner they will be addicted to such videos as pornographic videos. This is risky to the children because they will attempt what is in the video. They will end up doing things that are not acceptable in the society. Some could post images of naked people on their profiles, and this is against the ethics of the social networks (Weiss, pg 105).
The point I am trying to argue is the fact that children are not well informed about the difference between things that are done by adults and those that are done by the children, social networks inform them by taking the role of parents which goes against the ethics and methods of raising children. Parents can either watch the children get spoilt on the social networks, or decide t guide them as they use the social media.
Another risk of allowing children the freedom to join a social network comes with the harassments caused by internet bullying. These children can post abuses on each other’s social media, therefore, leading to the development of enmity among them. The purpose of such abuses are to scare each other, and it is common to find that the victims always end up suffering from the feeling of being unwanted. This case occurs mostly to those children who like using vulgar language, and they will try to influence each other by posting unwanted abuses. Some could even post foul accusations on against another, and this will lead to the victim being scared.
One common site is to find that the curiosity of the kid trying to join the social network will be welcomed by scary insults and accusations. With this, kid will, therefore, develop a negative attitude towards social sites, which may end up lowering the self esteem of the kid. It is convenient for the kid to have entertainment in the social sites, but the parents should assess the entertainment that children are exposed. This is an issue that should discourage parents from allowing their children to spend time in social network (Martin, pg 60).
Sexual advances can also take place as a result of children being in the social networks. This occurs when the adults or youths with evil intensions begin to extend their sexual advances towards the children. They do so by sending them videos and photos of sexual implications. The children because they are overwhelmed by curiosity will accept the proposal from the adult to try out. This is a substantial risk because the children may end up being raped by stranger simply because they wanted to experiment (Ybarra, pg 358). It will start with a friend request, texting through inbox, exchanging photos and videos, exchanging contact address and the result will be meeting with a stranger who will harm the kid.
Most sexual abuses and harassments are always interlinked with the social sites. After asexual insult or harassments, the child will be affected psychologically and will not be able to grow up in a normal way because of the experience. These children will have to be taken to the mentor who will give them guiding and counseling on how to cope with life after the incidences. Some children may end up trying to commit suicide because they are not willing to accept the fact. All these are case that can be prevented trough regulations. Therefore, parents may think that their children are busy spending their time with friends in the social network, but the truth is the children are being exposed to sexuality.
Most children are crowded in the social network because they fake their age. Facebook for example does not allow somebody below the age of eighteen years to have an account. Therefore, children will fake their age so that they get a chance to have an account. They end up having more than one account. This enables them to be viewed as adults and yet their real identity is that they are children. Since people think that all users of social networks are adults they tend to post contents that are meant for adults, for children who do not understand these contents they will influence themselves and find ways of searching for such contents.
This gets most children spending time not only in the social networks but in other websites because of curiosity to know more. It is not suitable for children to spend time on websites searching for an adult information. It has been found out that they do so in order to satisfy their curiosity and the result will be the knowledge about the adult content. Therefore, it is a recommendation, for parents to, watch their children advancements, despite allowing them to join the social media. They should also give them advises on the effects of trying to extend beyond their age (Macho, pg 75).
There is a rise of untoward influence resulting from children spending their time in social networks instead of going out to play, and meeting new friends physically. Take a look at a kid who has gone to hang out with his fellow friends. The kid is welcomed by silence because they find that all their friends are tied up in their electronic gadgets. The worst is they are busy socializing with other children online. The kid will feel rejected and isolated because they will feel they are left out. They will not have peers to play together. Because of this influence, the kid will also demand the right to access internet and join the social site so that he could be in the same level with his friends. The influence will continue, and many children will be absorbed into the internet.
Spending time in the social network is not unpleasant but what about the risks involved and since these children are innocent they get exposed quickly. Take a look at the parents kid refusing to allow the kid to access social sites, the kid will find his own means of ensuring he has joined the site. The means could also be risky, and the whole blame will reverse back to the parent. Parents are required, therefore, to advise their children upon realizing the rate of influence.
The time spent in social networking by children also matters a lot. Children tend to spend almost three-quarters of their day in social media. Some do not sleep because they are addicted to the social sites. Time is a resource and should be utilized well; children, however, do not understand the importance of time even though there is time for everything. They tend to be absorbed into their gadgets and forget about their studies. They even forget to accomplish their homework exercise and also to study. This is an emerging trend of children who are addicted to social networks; they depend on Google for their answer during examinations and thus end up having no knowledge from school. The contents they share also can damage their brains because they are forced to adapt to an environment which their developing brains cannot accommodate.
Children who spend time in the social network tend to forget their responsibilities at home. This is because they get absorbed to the extent that they find it difficult to perform their responsibilities like going for errands and doing house chores. They also do not spare time to spend with their parents because they are busy networking with their friends online. This is a disadvantage to those parents who think that by allowing their children to access social networks, they find time do their work since their children are busy and they will not call for attention. In the long run, the children will not perform the house chores; they will assume their parental advices and the whole blame will be on the parents.
Vulgar language may develop as a result of children being exposed to abusive languages used by people in the social sites. The children will use these languages in their day to day life and mostly in school. This is because they do not understand the meaning but because they have encountered the language being used in social media, they tend to use these languages. Some of them are abusive while some could mean sexual languages. I do accept the fact that communicating online could help to build one’s communication skills. For the children, it is the opposite since they do not understand the meanings. According to research on the effects of internet access by children, it is discovered that children tend to learn more of vulgar language than adults. Not all internet users have an objective of developing mature communications; therefore some people will post abusive languages without considering the viewers who could be the children (Ybarra, pg 370).
Even though it is praiseworthy to prepare children into the real world by allowing them internet access, it is also crucial to identify how the children will grow in terms of the language they are going to use. It is obvious that using vulgar language is not acceptable in the ethics of society. Raising a child who uses vulgar language will be an embarrassment to the parents. This trend could be prevented had the child not been allowed to extend their time online trying to satisfy their curiosity.
Most children who were exposed to social media at an early age tend to be affected in their teenage age. This occurs due to the feeling of being mature and responsible of themselves under the facts from the internet. Teenagers tend to think they know everything and will end up spoiling in their lives. Most case of teenage addiction to the internet is teenage pregnancy, rape case, kidnap, abortion, joining cult, and other social crimes including drug abuse. All this is a result of the influence under social media. Since teenagers have a characteristic of trying out new advances, they will always feel they have been raised under the exposure of these things and are free to experiment (Clerk-Pearson, pg 800).
Supporting social networks for children
There are, however, reasons to allow children to spend their time on social networking sites. There are benefits that come with this trend. One of the benefits is that children will gain access to useful materials that will help to get information that will be useful. They are growing information sites and are a place where children will learn to exchange ideas. It is good to expose children to technology, but restrictions should be put in place. There are other activities that children can do apart from spending time online, electronic gadgets have games that could help sharpen their skills, for example, puzzle and scrabble. These are the recommended activities that children should spend time doing. Parental guidance on the children will help them control the advancements of the kid because they will be able to identify the negative impacts and avoid them.
Using Google to access answers is beneficial because it enhance understanding, and also boosts ones knowledge but what about using it without any idea in your brain? This is an issue that should be addressed to those parents who thinks their children perform well in class because of the use of internet. Spending sleeping time in the social network is also not suitable for a kid who is expected to attend school the following day; this is because of the ability to lose concentration as a result of fatigue caused by lack of enough sleep (Clerk-Pearson, pg 802).
In conclusion, it is not suitable for the parents to encourage their children to have accounts in the social media; it is also not right for them to give their children the freedom to spend most of their entire time in the internet. The above disadvantages explain the impacts of children being exposed to the internet at an early stage. The resulting consequences always have the parent blaming themselves. Instead of nurturing children in the right ways of live by either influencing them to spend time playing in the field or with their toys, parents have resorted to exposing their children to the risks that are associated with the internet use.
I agree with the concept of preparing children into the real world, but there are other means of preparing them other than social media. Kidzworld, for example, is a site intended for children and teens. It provides an opportunity for the kid to socialize with other children. It is safe, the question still remains; do parents do a follow up on what the children do in the kidzworld? Under the guidance of a pediatrician, this site could be reasonable site. This social site allows children to express themselves and build their courage, which is advantageous for the self-esteem for the children. The consequences of raising children in a technological world by giving them freedom always result to a side effect when the child grows. Parents should, therefore, restrict the time their children spend online by following up to what they are up to and also advising them on the right ways of being in the internet.
Choo, “Online Child Grooming: A Literature Review on the Misuse of Social Networking Sites for Grooming Children for Sexual Offenses.” Literature Review, (2009): 128
Macho, Steve. The impact of home internet access. Cambria Press, 2006.
Martin, Carolynn. Discovering child development . Cengage learning, 2008.
Weiss, Robert. Closer together,further apart: the Effect of technology . Cengage learning, 2014.
O’Keeffe, Clarke-Pearson, Council on Communications and Media. “The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families.” Clinical Report, 4.1 (2011): 800-804.
Ybarra, Mitchell. “How Risky Are Social Networking Sites? A Comparison of Places Online Where Youth Sexual Solicitation and Harassment Occurs.” Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, 2.1 (2008): 350-357.
Kidzworld. Web. 2 April 2014. www.kidzworld.com/corporate/aboutus
Parenting. Web. 2 April 2014. http://www.parenting.com/gallery/social-media-monitoring-kids