-Writer: Joanne Shin
-word count: 1216
-Problem: Children using computer at young age
-Audience: Parents with elementary school age children or any children who have started using computer
-Genre: The genre is a how to guide that allows parents to easily understand the directions in which they can follow to protect their children from the harms of using computer. I chose to write in hand book style because it can be very informative. I also wanted to make the directions approaching and easy to follow because I understand that not all parents are highly educated so I wanted to lessen the formality and high word choices that may confuse the readers. I wanted to direct them in specific and doable ways so they can actually perform the instructions in real life.
Children and the Malicious Side of the Internet
Mental shock can be just a click away for most young children these days. However, mental shock is only one of the hundreds of negative effects that early exposure to the internet has on children. Children who start using the computers at a young age are in high risks of being exposed to the negative effects the internet has on both mental and physical health. Dangers children may face during the time they use the internet can be exposure to sexual content, risk of money expense on online games and addiction to the computer. Some may say that the internet can be resourceful and beneficial for exploring new knowledge if used in a safe way; however, it is not quite possible for children to be supervised at all times when they use the internet so there are always risks for the children to be faced with the harms of the internet. Therefore, a solution to this serious problem is in dire need. Besides supervision, there are definitely things that parents can do to protect their children from the bad effects of starting to use the internet at young age.
X-rated content such as pornography are very easy to get access even if your child is not intentionally searching for it. Without parent’s supervision, there is high possibility that a child will be or even already has been exposed to inappropriate photos or videos. The x-rated content can come as a shock to children and without the proper sex education, children may get the wrong idea about sex. I started using the computer since kindergarten age and had this sort of experience myself. For a long time before I got proper sex education, I thought very negatively of sex because of the bad memory I had from the web. Children should get proper sex education from their schools or their parents and not from the provocative videos or photos from the web.
Children, not knowing what they’re doing, may spend money on online games. Many online games have items that the game users can buy with real money. These items often enhance the game’s fun so children are easily tempted to spend money on the items. Some of the games include Maplestory and Mabinogi from company named Nexon. My cousin who started using the computer at a young age purchased more than five hundred dollars worth of online game items from Maplestory when he was in fifth grade. Apparently his parents did not check the monthly bank account balance and this incident had continued on for three months. Online games strongly lure innocent children to use money.
Effects on health
The internet can be a fun playground for children. Because of the fun it gives, children who start using the computers at young age have the potential of becoming addicted to the computer in their teenage years. Addiction to the computer is one of the scariest effects of excessive use of the internet. According to an article on Addiction.com, there is higher chance of the children addicted to the internet to perform badly in school because the effects of addiction to the computer include having a decreased productivity in school work and preoccupation with the computer (“Computer Addiction”). Addiction to the computer can do nothing but harm children’s minds.
–Neck pain and spine damage
Most people who use computers are not in a proper position when using the computer. Being in a crooked posture when using the computer can result in shoulder and neck pain. According to spine-health, a website specialized in information regarding the health of the spine, neck pain is primarily caused by “forward neck posture”. This is a posture many users of computers are unconsciously in while using the computer. If this posture is kept for a long time, there is possibility that users of the computer might end up getting spinal illnesses such as the cervical herniated disease (“Morrison”). It is important to stay aware that your child stays in a good posture while using the computer.
What you can do
There are a number of ways in which you, the parent, could prevent your child’s excessive use of the computer. Here are some suggestions that can help you make sure that your child is using the internet in appropriate and healthy way:
– Don’t get a computer:
This is obviously the best way in which you can stop your child from using the internet. Wait until your child’s school asks for school work to be done using the internet to buy a computer.
– Warn your child:
You should instill awareness in your child that the computer is not a toy. Educate your child on the dangers and risks of using the internet excessively for entertainment purposes. However do not make your child think that the computer has only bad aspects. Tell him or her that, if used safely under supervision, internet can be a useful educational source.
– Help your child get a hobby:
Take your child out to the park, to the swimming pool or a gym. You can also consider getting your child a teacher for learning instruments if your child is interested. Find something that’s more entertaining than computer for your child. Try to get your child’s mind off of the computer.
– Windows parental control:
According to description on the control panel on Windows 8 computer, by using the parental control feature you can get a report of your child’s activities done during the time he or she uses the internet, set time limits for the usage of the internet and block the specific sites of your choice.
1. Turn on your computer.
2. Double click on Control Panel.
3. Click on the tab Under User Account and Family Safety that reads set up family safety for any user.
-Apple parental controls:
Brief summary of instructions:
1. Turn on your computer.
2. Open System Preference menu and set up a controlled account.
3. Activate parental control by clicking on a tab that reads open parental controls. (“Configuring Parental Controls”)
Here is a link for specific directions: http://www.macworld.com/article/2030156/configuring-parental-controls.html
–Downloadable parental controls:
Some of the free downloadable parental controls include: Norton Family, DNS Angel, and Bitdefender Parental Control Free (“Williams”). For specific downloading instructions, I recommend you search the name of the software that you want to download on Google and find out more on those specific web pages.
Children are in an important stage of their lives. They are in a stage when they learn and grow and what they see and encounter most often can have great influence on them. Computers are becoming closest friends to many young children these days and I have seen a child as young as a 5 year old use the computer. Since many children spend a lot of time using computers nowadays, it is important that the parents take appropriate actions to make sure that their children are getting only the positive influences from using the internet. Children are in high risks of the harms of the internet without parental supervision. Children definitely can use the internet the “healthy” way, if the parents follow simple ways to protect their children from harms of the computer.
“Computer Addiction Signs, Symptoms & Treatment for Compulsive Computer Use.” ADDICTIONS.COM. N.p., n. d. Web. 12 Feb. 2014 http://www.addictions.com/computer/.
Morrison, Gavin. “How Poor Posture Causes Neck Pain.” spine-health Trusted Information for Back Pain Relief. Sylvia Marten, 7 March. 2011.Web. 12 Feb. 2014. <http://www.spine-health.com/conditions/neck-pain/how-poor-posture-causes-neck-pain>.
“How much physical activity do children need?.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC 24/7: Saving Lives. Protecting People.. N.p., 9 Nov 2011. Web. 12 Feb. 2014. http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/guidelines/children.html.
Windows 8 Control Panel
“Configuring Parental Controls.” Macworld. N.p., n. d. Web. 12 Feb. 2014. <http://www.macworld.com/article/2030156/configuring-parental-controls.html>.
Williams, Mike. “Best free parental control software: 9 programs to keep your kids safe.” techradar.computing. N.p., 25 Mar 2013. Web. 12 Feb. 2014. <http://www.techradar.com/us/news/software/applications/best-free-parental-control-software-9-programs-to-keep-your-kids-safe-1140315>.