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Royce Hunter Meacham

UWRT 1104

March 18th, 2018

Professor Kashtan

Major Assignment #3

A new age, millennials, technology driven world, are all phrases that help to describe

what world children are growing up in today. With this new generation being so largely

influenced by technology, new arguments have risen. These arguments are at what age should

young children be allowed to start using the internet, and if parents should allow their children to

use the internet in the wrong context such as games. In this paper, there will be points based on

both sides of each argument, but the evidence points to one side more and this is the side that

technology is overused by young children from the age of birth to five years of age, and that

parents should establish more restrictions on their children to help prepare them later on in life.

Children are not just the future, but they are also the present. This means that we as adults

should be doing whatever possible to help improve our children's minds and characters, to allow

them to be the best they can be. This starts by putting restrictions on how much technology

children are allowed to have available to them. Yes, internet can be helpful to allow children's

minds to develop, but it can also hinder other things in their life. In a study done by Canadian

Pediatric Society, it found that “the average child sees 12,000 violent acts on television annually,

including many depictions of murder and rape” (Canadian Pediatric Society). In this same study,

they found that “between 1976 and 1996, there has been a 270% increase in sexual interactions

during the family hour of TV watching” (Canadian Pediatric Society). In both of these stats it

causes children to think that acts of violence are fine and that it is an okay thing for them to
participate in. The numbers above have also continued to increase in the last couple of years,

which helps to explain the large amount of increase in gun violence, obesity, eating disorders,

unplanned pregnancy, and underage drinking. All of these things are caused by standards

presented by the internet, or the internet making it seem “cool” to participate in these actions. If

parents limited the content and the amount of internet usage children had, it would allow for

them to live stronger and healthier lives, which of course is what every parent wants for their

little babies.

Now it’s time to dig a little deeper, is the internet actually bad for children or is how it is

used, bad for children. One of the more surprising statistics about this topic, is what adults think

about it. In a study done by Pew Research Center, it found that only “33% of parents said they

have had concerns or questions about their child’s technology use” (Duggan, Maeve, et al). This

statistic shows how little adults are doing to keep children safe and free from inappropriate

information and media. Now another crazy thing is that “57% of non-parents said that children's

internet usage should be monitored and watched” (Duggan, Maeve, et al). This makes it

interesting why people who have children seem to trust them more than people without them.

This goes back to “motherly love”, the feeling that their child can never do anything wrong and

so they have this trust in their kids, but these kids never had to earn this trust. If children are

never taught what not to do then they will never know what is right and wrong. This is why non-

parents feel so much stronger about internet restrictions on children.

Looking back in time, the internet has not always been around, so what we can do is try

and predict what will happen with the internet by looking at similar technology that is older than

the internet. To do this we can go back around sixty years and get to the time when TV’s first

came out. Now if we go thirty years into the future and look how TV’s have advanced we can
see when the first young children show actually came out. This was caused by a speech given by

Newton Meno, called Wasteland. In this speech he talked about what he considered “rotten

content on TV,” meaning all

of the negative and evil

things on TV that innocent

children should not be seeing

at such a young age (Lisa

Guernsey). This caused people Figure 1 (Lisa Guernsey)

to start researching and trying to make safe content for technology that would be beneficial to

children, but thinking about that, it took people thirty years to realize this problem. Now this can

all be seen in figure 1, but it also opens up the thought of how long it will take people to realize

how bad the internet’s content can be for young children.

Now what can also be seen in this graph, is how smartphones (internet) match up to the

age of TV. Looking at the graph we can predict what is going to most likely happen next, and

what has yet to happen. Using the graph, we can see that smartphones have yet to go through that

“Children Break through” stage. Now the big question behind all of this is whether or not it is

going to take our country such a long time to get to the stage, like it did with TVs. If so, then

maybe for now having restrictions on internet and smartphones would be beneficial to young

children to make sure they don’t fall trap into the “rotten content” of the internet (Mitra, Sugata).

A lot of people who argue about these topics have a large opinion either that yes

technology is good for children or that it is bad and that they should never use it (Online Safety).

In this case I have to disagree with both sides, I feel that putting restrictions and limiting internet

usage is the best option. Yes, the internet is a great learning tool but it also is a dark hole of
inappropriate content. This can be proven by looking at a study done by Georgetown University,

during it they would show a video to children that were around twenty-four months old. The

video was about these three puppets hiding in a laundry room. The scientist then set up three

conditions and had three different groups each one only participating in one condition, the first

condition was that the children would watch the video, the second was that children would

interact with a computer game,

and the third was children who

watched a live action of it

through a window which was the

size of a TV screen. After this the

three groups of children were all Figure 2 (Lisa Guernsey)

released into the same room together, which was the room that was designed to look exactly like

the video. Now the children who saw the video had no idea where to go, but the children who

saw the live demonstration made a beeline straight to were the puppets were hiding. The most

interesting part though, is the fact that the children would played the computer game of it, knew

exactly where to go as well (Lisa Guernsey). This allows us to see that technology can be helpful

to children's brain development, but it has to be used in the correct context. Letting them blindly

stare at a screen is not helpful but allowing them to be interactive and do things for themselves is

the best learning tool.

Many people though take the above information and think that all they have to do is give

their children an interactive game such as “Talking Tom.” In this app, it will copy the things said

by the person using the app. The problem with this though, is that this is not the personal

interaction they get from having a conversation with a real person, which has been found as the
most beneficial thing to allowing young children's brain to develop (Lisa Guernsey). For

example, having a parent read a book and interact with the book and child is a lot more helpful

for them then having an app repeat words back to a child even though it is interacting with the

child.

Now looking back up to the age they used for the experiment, twenty-four-month-old

children. Is this the special age of when Children should be using the internet? According to

statistics and research during this time period is when children start to develop four major parts

of their brain. These four parts are Movement, Language, Social Emotional, and

Cognition/Learning (Toddler Brain Development). Looking at these it helps to lead to a

conclusion that having children use the internet before this age does not really help them gain

any knowledge, due to the fact that they don’t have the ability to retain anything. With this

knowledge, twenty-four months is a great time to start little amounts of internet access to

children, and slowly work them up to large amounts. Along the whole way teaching them the

safety of the internet as well, so that way around their teenage years they can be given full access

because of their large knowledge of how to respect it. This will cause for a lot of stress to be

takin off of parents and a peace of mind given to them knowing that their children won’t do

something on he internet that might cost them an opportunity farther down their future.

In always changing world it is sometimes hard to know what is always best for children

and what to expect next. Even with this though, we can always look back on the information

presented in this paper and the information that is available from the past. It will always be

relatable, even if it is not still using the same analogies. For the arguments on whether or not

children should have such a large access to technology, at what age should children be allowed

to use the internet unsupervised, and if parents allow their children to use the internet in the
wrong context, will always be something people will be wanting answers to. As expressed in the

paper, technology is helpful to children, parents just have to understand what is too much and

what context it should be used in. As for the best age for children to start using the internet, that

is based off the parent’s viewpoint, but according to the brain twenty-four months make the most

logical sense. I hope that parents will see this and have an epiphany about the best way for their

children to use and access the internet.


Bibliography

Canadian Paediatric Society. "Impact of Media Use on Children and Youth: Peer-Reviewed."

Paediatrics & Child Health. Pulsus Group Inc, 2003. Web. 26 Feb. 2018.

<https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2792691/>.

Duggan, Maeve, et al. “Concerns about Children, Social Media and Technology Use.” Pew

Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech, 16 July 2015,

www.pewinternet.org/2015/07/16/concerns-about-children-social-media-and-technology-

use/.

Lisa Guernsey. Perf. How the IPad Affects Young Children, and What We Can Do about It.

Youtube. TEDxMidAtlantic, 27 Apr. 2014. Web. 27 Feb. 2018.

<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P41_nyYY3Zg>.

Mitra, Sugata. "The Internet Can Harm, but Can Also Be a Child's Best Tool for Learning." The

Guardian. US Edition, 02 Nov. 2014. Web. 28 Feb. 2018.

<https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/03/child-safety-internet-web-

access>.

"Online Safety: Internet 'not Designed for Children'." BBC News [Online] 5 Jan. 2017,

Education and Family sec.: 1-3. Print.

“Toddler Brain Development Stage 18-24 Months.” SuperBaby, 24 June 2014,

www.superbabyonline.com/toddler-brain-development-stage-18-24-months/.