Byjus Logo

Internet access: Does your child really need it? This will help you decide!

Team StoryWeavers|September 21, 2021|

“Critical thinking brings insight into the situation.”

― Pearl Zhu, 100 Digital Rules

The world is changing faster than ever — the digital age is upon us. It has impacted every single aspect of our lives. It has fundamentally changed how children experience childhood. As childhood evolves in the digital age, so does parenting. Parents play a pivotal role in teaching their children about the digital world and the rules of this new world. 

Previously, we have covered questions that digital parents must ask themselves.  In this article, we will cover:

4 Things parents need to know about the digital media

There are a few things that parents must know about the digital world. A book by Dr. Lynn Schofield Clark, The Parent App: Understanding Families in the Digital Age, mentions four key characteristics of internet or digital media. Dr. Clark is a media scholar and Professor and Chair of the Department of Media, Film, and Journalism Studies at the University of Denver. 

The four things are as follows:

  • Digital media (or internet, in general) makes communication long-lasting. Any and all the information uploaded on the internet is extremely difficult to remove permanently, as opposed to interpersonal communication such as letters. 
  • Digital media is always evolving. The information can be easily replicated and shared on digital media, making it difficult to differentiate between original and replicas.
  • Digital media (or internet, in general) is highly scalable. It means that the information shared online can be amplified. For example: An isolated act, video or information, can reach too many people too quickly. Individual consent may prove to be a moot point. 
  • Digital media (or internet, in general) also makes it easy for anyone and everyone to search and find information that they are looking for. It is difficult to remain unidentified for most. 

How to check if your child is ready to use the internet 

Now that you know the key characteristics of the internet. The question arises — is the child ready for an independent gadget with internet connectivity? A book by digital literacy educator and advocate Diana Graber, Raising Humans in a Digital World: Helping Kids Build a Healthy Relationship with Technology, mentions a few questions that parents must ask themselves before handing their child an independent gadget of any sort with internet access. 

They are as follows:

  • Does the child know the dos and don’ts of the internet? Do they understand the concept of online reputation? Do they know that everything they post or others post about them matters? 
  • Does the child know how and when to disconnect from the internet? Are they likely to get engrossed in the virtual world for longer than required? Do they know the difference between the real and virtual world?
  • Does the child know how to engage safely with others on the internet? Are they aware of the dangers of the internet, such as cyberbullying? Do they know what to do if they come across unsafe or unsuitable content? 
  • Does the child know how to protect their personal information? Are they likely to give away personal or private information that can be used against them?
  • Is the child capable of thinking critically about everything that they come across on the internet? Can they identify accurate, valid and reliable information from misinformation?
  • Does the child have social and emotional skills necessary to use the gadget wisely? Can they show care and compassion online? Will they make the internet a kinder place, or will the anonymity make them a harsher individual?

These are critical questions that parents must ask themselves. If you are struggling to answer or have any doubts about your answer to these questions — be it yes or no, it is better to refrain from giving your child an independent gadget with internet access. 

Internet access is a massive responsibility. Much good has come from the internet or digital media over the years, but their dangers simply cannot be ignored. It will take some time for children to understand the complexities of the seemingly straightforward world of internet and digital media. As always, be patient and stay consistent with them. 

Did you find this article useful? How do you regulate your child’s internet access? Is there any other question you have about digital parenting? Do let us know in the comments below or write to [email protected]

Reference:

  • Clark, L. S. (2013). The Parent App: Understanding Families in the Digital Age. United Kingdom: OUP USA
  • Graber, D. (2019). Raising Humans in a Digital World: Helping Kids Build a Healthy Relationship with Technology. United States: AMACOM.

Disclaimer: Though we have verified the source of this information, parental discretion is advised.

About the Author


Generic placeholder image
Mekhala Joshi

“Me-kha-la!” That happens at least once when she introduces herself to new people. She’s the only ‘Mekhala’ she knows, and she takes a bit of pride in that. She is a quintessential introvert. Mekhala loves tea but cannot make a good cup of tea and often ends up having coffee. She claims that she takes all adjectives as compliments unless specified otherwise. Mekhala is an organizational psychologist and psychometrician. She was a class teacher of 36 adorable girls for two years, grade 2 & 3, as a part of Teach For India Fellowship. And has worked as an independent consultant for a couple of years.

Leave a Comment


Testimonials

Card image cap