Internet Effects on Youth Health and Social Skills

The internet age is defined by free access to a wide range of unlimited sources of information. While the internet has been an important tool for education, business and outsourcing for young people, it has equally brought with it a number of social, psychological and physical problems (Chou, Condron and Belland 364). The internet has both positive and negative impacts on youths. Arguably, as much as the internet is beneficial in developing digital generations in the future, it is equally detrimental to the health, social and psychological health of the modern youth.

With mobile phones, laptops and PCs, people obtain an almost free and unlimited access to a wide range of information. The application of internet in schools has become the most important benefit of the technology to the young people in all societies (Biesinger and Crippen 8). In fact, the internet has made teaching more effective, easy and interesting for both teachers and their students. The ability to access and store unlimited information on the internet has reduced the overreliance on paperwork, thus making it easy for students to learn. Despite it being cheap and readily available, the internet leads to loss of time that could have been used for other social, physical and psychological activities.

For instance, when used in education, it has a negative impact on the students. It makes it easy for students to obtain information of any kind at a click of the mouse. This is seen as a negative effect since it yields laziness and overreliance on the internet sources. For example, by just clicking on a mouse, a student is able to get all the information regarding a certain country, from its history to its modern status. As an example, a student will get all the information about Philippines’ history, politics, democracy, geography and economy from the Wikipedia website. Thus, some opponents have argued that it turns the young people from prospective citizens to “…zombies who cannot process information on their own…” (Foreman, Boyd-Davis and Moar 156). In fact, it has been argued that it also kills research skills and the motive to investigate issues because students have almost every aspect of information readily available to them.

Secondly, computer and internet skills achieved in young age are important in developing career. It is quite clear that the future of most employment opportunities depends on technological developments in information and communication technology. People who are exposed to the internet at an early age will have an advantage over those who are technologically disadvantaged (Young 237). Socially, the overreliance on the internet in schools as well as in social activities will equally mean that the future generation will be relatively lazy and unable to execute critical decisions without relying on some piece of technology (Lei and Ma 162). Physically, internet addiction means that young people remain attached to their screens, which makes them less active and thus, prone to diseases such as obesity.

Internet-based communication, information search, socialization and gaming have developed a form of addiction to the young people (Pei-Leun, Gao and Wu 6). They tend to spend much of their time on the internet, which compromises their physical and psychological health. For instance, spending long hours sitting compromises a person’s physical health, especially due to lack of exercise, inability to pay attention to ergonomics and exposure of the eye to computer screens (Kandell 112). In fact, poor exercise and inability to pay attention to ergonomics have been attributed to poor health in office workers who spend much of their time on their computers. This is likely to affect the young people, whose mind and attention are likely to be carried away by the interesting internet resources. On the other hand, the internet should not be blamed for the poor physical and psychological health associated with internet addiction. Rather, the society and social institutions should be blamed for lack of proper control of young people’s usage of the internet. In fact, there should be rules, regulations and limits to govern how students use the internet and how much time each young person spend on internet applications.

It is also arguable that the internet is a threat to young people’s psychological health, especially due to cybercrime and internet-based pornography. Cybercriminals normally target the young people due to their inexperience with crime. From abduction to child pornography, cyber stalking to spread of propaganda and hateful messages, cybercriminals have found a better way of targeting the young people (Clarke 64).

Finally, internet based socialization, especially through social sites such as Facebook and Twitter, have become a common form of communication among the young people, and even the children. Young people spend much of their time on this site, which compromises their attendance to other areas such as classes, studies, work, social places, and communication with peers, teachers and families as well as in physical exercises (Subrahmanyam and Greenfield 122). Such behaviours affect young people’s ability to develop social skills, especially if they find little or no time to socialize with other people. Communication becomes a problem because they have to rely on the internet and social sites. However, it has been argued that these sites are equally a source of social development skills because young people meet in virtual groups to share and develop social and career skills (Wesemann and Grunwald 528).

In conclusion, the use of internet and its applications in social context has become an important issue of debate in the modern context, especially in relation to overdependence on internet-based information and socialization. The internet also allows an easy way of communication, research and innovation. However, it is also a source of social evils, especially in terms of cybercrime, internet addiction and a channel for conducting illegal business.

Works Cited

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Chou, Chien, Lind Condron and John Belland. “A review of the research on internet addiction”. Educ Psychol Rev, 17 (2005): 363-388.

Clarke, Richard. “Internet Privacy Concerns Confirm the Case for Intervention”. Communications of the ACM, 42.2 (2009): 60-67

Foreman, Nigel, Boyd Davis and Moar Magnus. “Can virtual environments enhance the learning of historical chronology?” Instr Sci 36.1 (2008): 155-173.

Kandell, John. “Internet addiction on campus: the vulnerability of college students”. CyberPsychol Behav 7.3 (2008): 11-17.

Lei, Lay and Lay Ma. “Moderate effect of self-identity on the association between instant messaging and Internet use of junior high school students”. Chin J Clin Psychol 16 (2009): 161-163.

Pei-Leun, Rau, Qin Gao and Li-Mei Wu. “Using mobile communication technology in high school education: Motivation, pressure, and learning performance”. Comput Educ 50.4 (2008): 1-22.

Subrahmanyam, Kaveri and Patricia Greenfield. “Online communication and adolescent relationships”. Future Child, 18 (2009): 119-146.

Wesemann, Dan and Grunwald, Main. “Online discussion groups for bulimia nervosa: An inductive approach to Internet-based communication between patients”. Int J Eat Disord, 41 (2008): 527-534.

Young, Kimberly. “Internet addiction: the emergence of a new clinical disorder”. CyberPsychol Behav 12 (2008): 237-244.