The use on computers has continued to be an integral component in the lives of children and adolescents in the twenty-first century. The computer arena crowded is currently crowded with computer devices of diverse types such as personal computers, laptops, smart phones, iPods, tablets and many more. Gunn and Donahue (3) argue that, the current technological convergence, a feature of media use nowadays, facilitates children and adolescents access to the internet. This in turn provides them with the access to interactive video games, instant messaging, and different virtual reality websites. It also gives them access to e-mail, interactive social media networks, and much more. This scenario is the source of concern as to whether, the use of computer by children and adolescents makes them better persons, or does it expose them to danger.
CONSTANT ACCESS TO MEDIA
The considerable majority of children and adolescents have access to several computer-based media platforms. This takes place regularly in places and times where adult supervision or monitoring is lacking. According to studies conducted by the Internet Society (2), children and adolescents get occupied in an extensive diversity of activities over the Internet, and several overlap one another. This is because Web 2.0 platforms are increasingly developing to be a core component of the present day youth culture. These studies have established that, the core activities that children and adolescents engage in, using computers, are schoolwork at ninety two percent, playing games at eighty three percent, watching videos at seventy five percent, while social networking rates at seventy one percent.
Adult Supervision and Monitoring. According to studies conducted by Gunn and Donahue (4), there is concern regarding how children and adolescents use computers, and electronic media technology. This is in concurrence with the reality that the internet is has developed into a core component of the present day youth culture. However, the absence of a common concurrence about the correct approach towards protecting and educating children and adolescents adds extra challenges to their online expression and experiences. In addition, geographical and cultural disparities in social and legal customs echo the reality that there is an absence of a universally established perception of what is suitable for children and adolescents. This makes it intricate to define inappropriate content and activities.
While several online crimes may be considered to be cross-border in character, and therefore require worldwide deliberation, at a national platform, policy approaches regarding the regulation of content employ a diversity of filtering methods to control access to or prevent inappropriate Internet content. However, none of these efforts are perfectly effectual at regulating inappropriate content. It is as a result imperative for parents, guardians, the state, educators, as well as peers to educate children and adolescents on responsibilities and hazards that they might come across as they use computers (6). This approach can empower children and adolescents to recognize and circumvent risks, while furnishing them with literacy skills that are essential towards responsibly reaping the benefits computers offer.
Empowering Children and Adolescents. Rather than adults endeavoring towards supervising and monitoring children and adolescents use of computers, it would be increasingly productive to empower them instead. Shariff and Hoff (26) assert that, a significant role in facilitating the safety of children and adolescents as they use computers and the internet is to assist them to comprehend the concepts of safety and risk, which would help them make independent informed choices. It is in this regard that education on online safety is crucial in protecting children and adolescents against online hazards. These online hazards entail external threats, for instance inappropriate activities, content, or interaction with the wrong persons. While internal threats include disclosure of unwarranted personal information. With this in mind, adults should work in collaboration with children and adolescents by paying attention to their needs and their experiences.
The Internet Society (8) argues that, few adults fully comprehend the internet culture of children and adolescents. This is informed by the reality that there is a significant generational gap in regard to attitudes concerning confidentiality, privacy, as well as an individuals liberties. This makes it psychologically and technically complex for adults to address the issues concerning the online safety and privacy of their children and adolescents. Consequently, these factors highlight the critical need to persuade adults to interact with their children and adolescents in discussing their online activities. According to Valkenburg and Peter (67), this means that, getting involved would facilitate adults in keeping children and adolescents out of the imminent dangers involved in their use of computers. It is similarly vital to empower the children and adolescents through furnishing them with the necessary online literacy expertise. This entails educating and supporting them to master accessible ICT tools, in addition to how to arrive at informed decisions. This would facilitate the children and adolescents in growing to become the subsequent generation of dependable and trustworthy computer-literate citizens.
This paper has demonstrated that the use of computers by children and adolescents requires the supervision and monitoring by adults. This is despite the reality that empowering these young computer users would minimize the need for supervision and monitoring, since they would be in a position to make informed decisions regarding their use of computers. It is important to understand that, more effectual and long-lasting measures entail those that are founded on empowerment. This is in order that children and adolescents profit from the twenty-first century generative power of the computer.
Gunn, Jeanne B., and Donahue Elisabeth H. Children and Electronic Media. The Future of Children 18. 1 (2008): 3-9. Print.
Internet Society. Children and the Internet. 2014. Web. 2 Nov 2015.
Shariff, S., and Hoff, D. L. Cyber Bullying: Clarifying Legal Boundaries for School Supervision in Cyberspace. International Journal of Cyber Criminology 1.1 (2007): 26-38. Print.
Valkenburg, P., and Peter, J. Preadolescents and Adolescents Online Communication and Their Closeness to Friends, Developmental Psychology 43. 2 (2007): 67.
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