When Should Children Have Access to the Internet?

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When Should Children Have Access to the Internet?

Evy Peyovich, Journalist

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At what age should kids have access to the internet? Most people know that the internet can be a dangerous place, as it is open to anyone anywhere if they have the right tools, which many people worldwide do. Believe it or not, the average age for independent and unsupervised internet use is a surprising 8 years old, according to csoonline.com. Whether that is on a personal device or on a computer, is 8 years old too young?

First off, how dangerous is it online? In my opinion, very. Cyber bullying is a quite common and real occurrence. Some parents may say that their child has not experienced it, or they are “too innocent” to do so, they may be right. But likely, their child has engaged in cyber bullying, either on the receiving end or being the one doing it. This is troubling, because most do not tell a trusted adult or caregiver. Even if they are being bullied, a child could feel like they could get in trouble for something they didn’t do.

Cyber stalking is also an issue. One in twelve women in the United States has been cyber stalked, according to cyber.harvard.edu. That’s approximately 8%. That’s almost as much as the divorce rate in highly educated couples, which is 11%, from en.wikipedia.org.

Second, should we take precautions in this? Is it really a priority? Yes, yes it is. We need to do something about the ongoing issues in our country, or death tolls could rise. Cyber bullying, just like typical bullying, can really make kids, especially adolescents, unhappy. That could lead to fatalities that truly impact our country. Death is a good a reason as any, right?

So, what age is truly right for children to be released into the dark, unyielding void of the web? Well, it really depends. The average age to get a phone is 10.3 years old, as usatoday.com says. Although, many phone owners that young have personal devices are restricted by parental controls. There are many apps out there that parents use to monitor their children’s every touch, tap, or swipe. Some other common methods of control are seeing location, setting time limits, app locks, even rating limits on television apps. These can be beneficial, as many parents are more educated than kids on the dangers of the internet.

Stephen Hawking once said, “We are all now connected by the internet, like neurons in a giant brain.” Nothing separates us when out in the web. It really is “world wide”. Anyone can access it, and although this is beneficial, this can be detrimental.  Lots of people around the world know people that are on the complete opposite side of the world. But do they really know them? They are just words or a picture on a screen, with no notion to truth. Who knows, they could’ve found a picture on the internet and claimed it was them.

Therefore, the right age really depends on maturity. You could be a ten-year-old who is as aware and mature as a fifteen-year-old, but you could be a twelve or thirteen-year-old that knows as much about the internet about a nine-year-old. The point is, there are many things out there, and although that shapes the education and culture of society, it could be for the worse. So be aware, prepared, and skeptical, but remember that the internet is fun and educational if safety rules are followed.