How Dangerous the Internet is for Kids


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Teenage girl with headphones and laptop having online school class at home

Stella Buelna, Staff Writer

The internet is something that everyone in this day and age is very familiar with. Over the years the internet has grown so much, and the possibilities are endless. You can find anything you wish on the internet, with just a simple search. For most, the internet is something we use and need every day, whether it’s to talk to friends, catch up on news, do your schoolwork or your job, etc. Although, depending on your age, you might think of or use the internet differently than other generations. The official birthday for the internet is January 1, 1983, therefore millennials were just growing up with the internet, while it was still developing and growing and getting more complex. This means that Millennials are pretty familiar with the internet, but they were growing up with it and so they weren’t used to how complex it is today. However, Gen Z, grew up around the time that the internet was vastly more diverse and populated.  A lot of Gen Z kids were getting phones/computers in elementary school, middle school, meaning they had access to a plethora of information. This is of course if the device they are using is unmonitored by the parent or guardian. This is a really scary concept because the moment a child is curious about an idea or something they hear, they can just look it up and expose themselves to potentially scarring information, etc. This is something to be careful of because a child is still developing and potentially exposing themselves to information that they are not ready to process can really scar them. For example, if there is a child unmonitored on youtube, they can just continue down a rabbit hole of videos that can greatly influence their way of thinking, or expose them to sexual or violent content that they should not be seeing. The internet is a whole entire network of endless possibilities of what you might find, and leaving impressionable minds to explore the internet on their own can be very dangerous.

Another unhealthy side of young kids on the internet is the impact it has on their self-esteem. Social media often pushes media and pictures of unrealistic body images and body expectations. It pushes harmful expectations for women to be skinny but curvy, to have a flat tummy and clear skin. For boys, it teaches them that they either need to be toned, skinny, or super muscular. The self-esteem of Gen Z today is so damaged and the main cause is the harmful expectation set by social media. There is no ideal body type and we need to be better at showcasing normal body types, not ones only achievable by models and influencers.

The more concerning part about young kids on the internet is the people they can encounter. A lot of young kids have taken a liking to platforms like social media or video games. Usually, there is an age limit of about 13 for social media, although it is easily bypassable if you lie about your age, and the same goes for video games. Then it allows them access to be approached by anyone on the internet, of any age. A lot of kids on the internet have been groomed by adults. Child grooming is when an adult, or person of significant age difference befriends a child and establishes an emotional connection with the child and/or family in order to gain sexual favors and sexually abuse the child. A lot of this grooming happens on the internet, whether it be through popular social media sites or more obscure sites where you can talk to random strangers. Of course, the child does not know that what they are doing is wrong, and you cannot blame them. It is fully the adult’s fault and they are responsible for creating trauma for this child. Usually, trauma like this lasts a lifetime and can have horrible effects on the child and their self-esteem as well as their relationships. This is a very underground issue that not a lot of people are aware of or pay much attention to. If you know anyone who is young on the internet they should be monitored, to prevent anything to influence their young minds and help them develop healthily.