The Internet is an escape from reality and an entrance to the virtual world for many of us. Including our kids.
As parents, it is inevitable that our kids will have access to the internet and everything it offers. As they continue to delve deeper into the depths of the internet, you may realize they start to spend more time on the net and lose interest in the activities they used to love, sacrifice sleep to play games online and have more virtual friends than real life friends.
This is when you might suspect that your kids are addicted to the internet.
Why is the internet so irresistible?
There are various reasons as to why the internet gets many addicted followers, but here are a few reasons, broken down to ABCs:
The internet is everywhere.
With Wi-Fi available everywhere, the internet is easily accessible by anyone and everyone. You simply need a device, such as a smartphone or a laptop, to log on and you will be able to access the Internet.
Survey has found that one in four children under the age of six has a smartphone – showing the accessibility of the internet. Parents also admitted that they use smartphones as a way to distract their children and keep them quiet so they can focus on their other tasks on hand.
A simple search on Google will return countless results on what you can do when you are bored. From interesting videos to engaging games, the internet provides a wide variety of entertainment options for kids.
The internet provides almost instant gratification, and kids will find themselves getting more and more absorbed into the world of the Internet that gives them what they seek.
But why are children getting bored so easily? It is actually a vicious cycle. Once children get introduced to the internet and the virtual world, they compare it to real life – and finds everyday life boring. This urges them to return back to the virtual world, continuing the vicious cycle.
Ask a kid if they know what is Whatsapp, Snapchat and Instagram.
The chances of them knowing one, or maybe even all, of these applications, are high. There is a high prevalence of digital communication applications and social media platforms that allows kids to keep in contact with their friends.
Kids these days experience this phenomenon known as FOMO, which means “Fear Of Missing Out”. They can not stand not being in the loop of the latest happenings and hence, feels the constant need to be in constant communication with their friends and other outlets such as a company’s Facebook Group or Instagram.
Is it all bad?
I am sure we heard a lot of negative effects on children using the internet. Same examples include sleep deprivation, depression, and social isolation. But do not worry, read on and you may find some relief that there is a positive side to the internet.
A few of the positive effects include being able to be in contact with long-distance friends or relatives and it is also a first step to making friends for those who may have social anxiety.
Additionally, with the rapid advancement of technology, jobs in the future are likely to be heavily dependant on technology – so there is no harm being comfortable with technology early right?
Control and Cultivate.
Despite the perks it brings, the internet is still a highly addictive place and if there is no proper guidance given to innocent kids, they may not know what they are getting into.
As parents, it is paramount that you can start by controlling their internet usage by setting time limits and slowly cultivate smart internet use such as knowing when they should stop using the internet.