The Benefit of Music Lessons for Kids

Think for a minute. What’s the one thing that has fundamentally reshaped how you’ve worked and lived over the past 30 years? Chances are, without hesitating, you said the internet.

From communication to shopping to education and more, the World Wide Web has changed how you do a lot of things. The same is true for kids — even though they’ve never known an internet-free world. They’ve grown up with tablets and smartphones that have been their gateways to the world. It all raises a big question, though: Is internet access for kids a good thing?

Truthfully, there isn’t a black-and-white answer. There are advantages and disadvantages to letting your child surf the net. So before you give them the Wi-Fi password, look at some of the pros and cons.

Here are a few positives of allowing your child access to the internet:

Easy Communication

As a kid, did you roam the neighborhood with friends and only return home when the fireflies came out? You’d go all day without letting your parents know where you were, right? Well, those days are almost gone. More parents are using the internet to keep tabs on their kids during the day.

Finding the right cell phone for kids can give you peace of mind while your child plays outside with friends. Yes, calling and texting are great, but you can go a step further. Even a phone with limited internet access can be a GPS tracker. That way, you know your child’s location with a tap of your finger.

Information Access

There’s no question the internet is filled with information. From sites for newspapers to medical centers to universities, the web offers intel on millions of topics. What once took hours to find in a library, kids can find within minutes today. Plus, the internet never closes, so they can learn — at 9 p.m. — what koalas eat or how long elephants live.

The internet gives kids the opportunity to dig deep into any subject that fascinates them. If it’s cooking, they could learn thousands (millions!) of new recipes. Exploring an interest in animals could put them on track to becoming a future veterinarian. Expanding knowledge through online access goes a long way toward strengthening their confidence.

Online Education

If there’s one thing the pandemic revealed, it’s that internet access can be a critical teaching tool. Online class time might not be perfect, but it offers another avenue for kids to learn.

Even if your child is in school during the day, however, the internet can be a huge help if they’re struggling. There are outstanding educational websites available that offer video instruction in almost every subject area. Teachers can use them to give students extra practice, and kids can tap into the resources on their own. If your child needs a tutor — and it’s not in your budget — these sites can be grade savers.

Not everything about the internet is wonderful, however. There are several negatives associated with giving your kid access to the web:

Stunted Communication Skills

It’s true that the internet is filled to the brim with ways to communicate. We’ve gone far beyond the days of texting and AOL Instant Messenger. Kids today choose from Snapchat, Discord, Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitter, and more. These apps keep them in constant contact with their friends (and wider world), but it’s a different type of interaction.

By communicating mainly online with little interpersonal, face-to-face interaction, kids haven’t developed age-appropriate communication skills. They aren’t learning to read facial expressions or tones of voice when talking with friends and adults. It may be OK now when they’re mainly communicating with peers. Having little real-life interaction could present problems as they grow up, though.

Inappropriate Content

As an adult, you already know the internet is a double-edged sword. It’s filled with both helpful and inappropriate content. Whether it’s violent videos or adult websites, kids can stumble across any number of harmful things. Even though many sites try to restrict their content to users over age 18, it’s hard to verify someone’s real age.

Consequently, lots of kids are exposed to content that may confuse or scare them. For some teenagers, what they find could also negatively impact their mental health. As a parent, you at least have one tool you can use to protect your child. Parental controls let you decide what your kids can and cannot see online.

Information Misuse

In this case, your kids aren’t being exposed to inappropriate content. They’re simply using the internet to make any schoolwork easy — maybe too easy. By putting a world of information at your child’s fingertips, the internet can promote serious laziness.

You did term paper research in the library, but it’s different for kids today. They still spend time looking up information — that’s great! But along with authoritative knowledge, the internet dishes up a lot of biased information and outright falsehoods. Teaching them to think critically about what they see online is a critical parenting task in the internet age.

In addition, the digital nature of the internet allows most content to be copied and pasted elsewhere. If your child does this, they aren’t doing the assigned work themselves. Plus, they could get caught and be punished for plagiarism.

Health Problems

You might think the aches and pains of near-constant internet use only strike adults. Sadly, that’s not the case. Those hours your kid spends scrolling through their phone or on their laptop is giving them the same neck, back, and eye pain. They just might not notice it as much — yet.

Their eyesight takes the biggest hit from the hours they spend surfing the web. If your child complains of blurry vision or eye soreness, it’s time to take away the screen. The longer they focus on a screen, the more extensive the damage will be.

The internet is a gateway to the world for most of us, especially kids. It’s a handheld treasure trove of knowledge and entertainment. Introducing your child to the internet can have lots of positive benefits. Doing so comes with some downsides, though. Before sending your child into the digital wild, be sure you know the ups and downs you can expect.

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