Children and Internet: How Does Internet Use Affect Children Today?

By Mahmood Hussain 31st August 2016

We will look in the article, below what are its physical and socials effects on children and young adults.

Effects of internet & computer usage in children

Exposure of children on daily basis to the computer, mobile, lap top. tablet and media.  Whether it is electronic media (TV), video games or social media.  It is used in constant and routine manner. Children use it on daily basis. This is leading towards growing health and social problem in general. In 21st century the usage of the internet and social media among the children has increased rapidly.

The study in this regard was conducted by nonprofit organization Joan Ganz Cooney center, head quarter based in New York. It is stated that more than two third of the children of 8 years age, daily use internet. This pattern and trend are on the continuous rise. To really evaluate it is difficult to establish the relationship between the use of internet activity on daily basis and physical activities of child. It is complex situation need more research but we know old proverb “human being is social animal”. And with internet usage, social interaction and physical activity is diminishing, which is not at all for healthy life.

The Joan Ganz Cooney center is a fully independent unit of research with lab, which totally focuses on educating young children in currently changing the environment at much greater pace. Within last seven to eight years the trend of internet use has emerged with greater pace. Especially with in South Asia and South Pacific Asian countries.

Child_Internet_Computer

Internet usage leads towards lethargic life style

Increase in computer /internet usage leading towards lethargic and sedentary life style. Which is devoid of any physical activities. Children and young adults are more confine and restrict themselves to sit in one place for hours while using the internet or playing video games. In a continent of Asia where nearly 60% of the world current population lives. Asia countries having large young generation below the age of 20 years. Secondly, the economy in most of the Asian countries is growing with tremendous pace such as of China, India, Korea, Japan. Iran, Malaysia. Indonesia, Philippine, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Pakistan and which also include GCC countries and many more countries in Asia.

Physical activity on daily basis is essential for health and quality of life for all ages

This has been observed children are addicted to internet, social media and video games. They spend their daily leisure time in front of mobile, laptop, tablet or PS, Xbox. They are spending very little time for physical activities and outdoor to play. Another addiction associated with it, the precious free time they spend in front internet or computer along with junk foods, chips or cookies, and the cold drinks or other beverages. These all foods and beverages consumptions are leading towards obesity in children. Obesity itself is a great health hazard. This leads to dull and inactive life. Globally Child obesity has become greater threat and risk factor especially in children and young adult. It is of great worry some for parents.

We all know “Children are the future of the country” for progress and growth of the country we all need healthy and active children.

In this regard Keleyanni Greeseeny Swamy who is a leading clinical psychologist. His work is on “Children use of the internet.” Swamy is also the author of “The impact of internet use in children and Adolescents”. The use of the computer is linked to motion injuries like carpal tunnel and will also result in eye strain. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a medical condition that causes numbness, pain, and discomfort in the hand. If such symptom is observed among children then please do consult with an orthopedic surgeon for treatment and remedy. Besides, it is important to keep your child away from the internet, video game, and social media.

Computer & Video Games

The use of internet and its impact on children and adolescent has increased especially in online games. The games children usually play mostly are violent. Children are more expose towards violent behavior and sensitizing themselves towards harming themselves and their companion, colleagues or friends.

The violence depicted by media to attract viewers will also have the profound impact on young children. These violent or aggressive behavior are shown by media. whether it is via news, drama or feature films, etc. At this young age they lack the ability to judge real life situation and what they are watching on media.

The children who are watching violence on communication media will have the effect and they will learn aggressive attitude and they are desensitized to it.

A report published by Princeton University, the USA having the title “The impact of the in-house computer on use of children activities and their development”.  While on internet or mobile or computer some children affected by rapidly flashing images of video games and websites, this may initiate epileptic seizures.

Problem area and worrisome

The excessive use of internet and computer on daily basis either at home or school is big worrisome for all adults. This is the question mark? and raised concern, what role and at what level it is helpful for children to learn skills, knowledge and help to complete their homework.  Whereas on another hand this may lead to depression and may follow the violent behavior.

The above refer published report provides limited research overview on the effect of the computer used by children at home on physical activities, mental/intellectual and social development. This needs further careful evaluation and assessment, to establish how much time a child spent per day for using computer or mobile. Also, evaluate at what cost of other activities such as physical activity and social skills. With little physical activities, this will lead to obesity and uprising greater health problem such as diabetes, High blood pressure, cardiac problem, bone and joint problem and so on.

Obesity in children is epidemic worldwide

Body physical symptoms appearance due to excessive use of internet or computer.

  • Headache
  • Weight gain result in obesity
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Pain in the neck
  • Backache
  • Disturbed sleep pattern
  • Blurred or disturbed vision.

Positive aspects

If we look at positive aspects of using the computer at same time. The research on cognitive function development, says that playing computer games by children increase their skills of the building block and enhances their literacy rate. These activities increase child ability to read and visualize images. Still, this positive aspect needs to be further evaluated to justify the opinion expressed above as well my views.  Online activities and video game increase their ability to interact with people. It also increases the skills of creativity and team work. This will also increase their ability to store knowledge and information. They can recognize between good and bad information and the content source. Numerous studies reported children using the computer at home perform academically better at school. Using computer by children has shown to improve their overall intelligence, coordination between eye and hand as well as visual intelligence.

Still, both positive and negative impact of the computer game, mobile and internet use by children needs further research to validate the initial findin 

Article written by Mahmood Hussain for www.babyfirst.com.pk  ,Baby First Pakistan for social media such as website, facebook, linkedin, twitter etc.

About Mahmood Hussain

Professional Experience More than 36 years work experience in Healthcare & Pharmaceutical sectorDirector & General Manager Baby First (Pvt.) Ltd Pakistan March 2011 – till to date I have been associated with Baby First (Pvt) Ltd for more than 5 years. It is advisory, community and social interaction medium for parents 16-38 years and babies 0-6 years.General Manager Aga Khan Health Service Pakistasn December 2005 – December 2007 (2 years 1 month)Based at Karachi Pakistan Worked as General Manager managing Karachi & Baluchistan Health care services of AKHSP which includes primary and secondary health care centers and diagnostic centers on all areas nearly 102 centers which include three leading hospitals in Karachi.General Manager Janssen Cilag (Johnson & Johnson) February 1998 – January 2005 (7 years)Education MBA, Marketing 1995 – 1996, Preston University MSc, Biochemistry 1970 – 1974, Karachi University

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