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Supervising Internet usage among teens

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By: UMAR GULZAR

Computer and Internet is contemplated as the latest discovery of man which has revolutionized every field of human life. Indispensability of computers and internet cannot be denied. Real Internet operations began in 1969 when United States military used it for the first time. By 1980s it became a tool in the hands of academic researchers and Universities. It was only in the 1990s that Internet was thrown open to the public. Today, every nook and corner of the world is connected through internet. Nowadays anyone having a computer can access the services provided by internet.

Many people in today’s generation are relying on the internet to do a lot of different tasks. In fact, wherever we go these days, we can see people holding some sort of gadgets and using the internet for different purposes. Internet is all about information; so many students use it as a source of education. Today many students are using internet to do research and accomplish their assignments. In fact, some people use online programs and courses to study comfortably at home.

There is no denying the fact that this boom of computers and internet in the Industrial Revolution has taken its toll. As the proverb goes “Excess of everything is bad- youngsters have been adversely affected by immense interest in the virtual reality that they sometimes lose the sight of the actuality of life. By the easy access to smart phones, tablets, laptops and television, they prefer sitting glued to the computer whether it is for study purposes or entertainment (sports and gaming and watching different programs).The addiction has led to a number of negative effects- the most immediate ones being of social in nature. A person’s relations with parents, siblings, friends and relatives wither under the glistering world of images, sounds and all the hype created by internet. Their minds are at risk of getting exposed to vile and obscene material available at the internet. The person prefers the solitude to get more time on computer and gets caught by depression and anxiety resulting in health deterioration .Besides, sitting for long hours on the computer affects the most valuable human sense, eyes. The social networks like WHATSAPP, FACEBOOK, TWITTER, etc keep them captivated and cease their minds. They have forgotten the feel of paper, art of writing and reading books. This addiction is going to divest them of physical and mental health acquired by outdoor sports and games and letting oneself to relinquish the nature.

Parents must take an ardent role in stopping their children from going awry. Parents of teens need to be informed about the online world.  Try to navigate the social world together, rather than acting as a supervisor. Show your teen how to use internet in a much beneficial way. Take a look at what your teen is posting online. Check out their favourites and which channels they are subscribed to. Favourites and subscriptions can give you clues about what they’re watching on the site. From security point of view internet can be a very dangerous neighborhood for children.

The greatest risks children facing online are cyber bullying, cyber predators, posting private information, phishing, falling for scams and accidently downloading malware, the hazards can be frightening. Children may also unwittingly expose their families to online risks, for example, by accidentally downloading malware that could give cybercriminals access to their parents' bank account or other sensitive information. Protecting children on the Internet is first and foremost a matter of awareness—knowing what dangers lurk and how to safeguard against them. Cyber security software can help protect against some threats, but the most important safety measure is communicating with your children. Recently, one of the cyber predating game which flashed on news channels was BLUE WHALE. It is a sequence of online ‘dares’ that participants must progressively engage in to get ahead. These include etching a blue whale on your skin and jumping off buildings.

There have been at least three reported suicides in India of youths who, according to media reports, were playing or had searched for the game online. According to the reports of The Sun, a UK news company the horrifyingly dangerous game has been linked to at least 130 teen deaths. In nutshell, the Internet can pose dangers to children. It can also open doors of wonder for them that previous generations could not even have dreamed of. Make sure that your children experience the bright side of the online world, not its hazards. The teachers must advise students about the wise use of internet. Also the Government must take some regulatory steps to limit the young internet users access to indecent material available on the internet.

The writer is a student at Central University of Kashmir, Department of Mathematics, and can be mailed at saimumer121@gmail.com

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