Over the last five years or so, there has been a trend on parents and children disconnect due to the high level of internet usage. Less than five years ago, computers were used specifically for software, engineering or even medical purposes. The trend has however changed significantly. Computers are being used majorly for household purposes. This is an issue that has been on the forefront in terms of family disconnect.
The prelevance of computer usage in this generation is rapidly increasing however, it should be appreciated that the usage of computers in the households is primarily based on the source of income. The interpretation hence is that the more stable a family is financially the more there is a social disconnect in the family. In light of this, I am going to discuss the effects of internet in the family in this 21st century.
The Effect on Family Relationships
The question most researchers have been arguing is whether the internet has improved or destroyed family relationships in this century. Truth be told, the internet has done more harm than good when it comes to the betterment of the family. CITATION Ros98 \l 1033 (Mary) In as much as parents may use it for the purpose of communication to their children and vice versa, or that it has improved the level of knowledge among members of the family, the disadvantages still outweigh the advantages. Family members now spent less time socializing physically. Social media has become the new way of being antisocial. Many families (including parents) have become addicted to the social media, according to a research conducted in America; three out of ten parents spend less time with their kids as compared to the time they spend with their phones and tablets. As a result, the children end up finding new parents who teach them everything including the good, the bad, and the ugly. The internet has created a void in most families some of which at this moment dont even know how such a void can be filled.
Another study shows that as children between seven and twelve years as they use their computers tend to rely on their siblings on the solutions rather than their parents. They view their parents as old fashioned people who understand little or nothing to do with this new level of technology. CITATION Joh98 \l 1033 (Gottman) This has significantly reduced the parent-child connection that was there prior to the coming of household computers.
Families prefer online communication as compared to face-face communication. A parent may spend six months without seeing the person face to face but is satisfied by an online communication. This act is more dangerous than a parent who may be in the house but does not see the child. Online communications such as Skype hide true emotions. A child may pretend to be the best person ever while on Skype while in the real sense the child has a million hidden emotions
Effects on Children
It is evident that the people that have been greatly affected by the internet are children. To begin with, children these days are learning more from the internet as compared to their parents or even teachers. Parents seem to care more about a childs education, protect them from drug and substance abuse while forgetting the most critical part of a child in his social life; the internet. A study shows that parents have little knowledge on the real effects of the internet. The only way they come to learn about it is through the labeling systems such as parental advisories.
Another effect of the internet on the child is the information they pick up from it. Though very resourceful in terms of information, not all such information is useful to the child. With minimal supervision from the parents, pornography is next to inevitable and exposition to online dating sites. An average American child is prone to pornography and dating sites due to their addiction to social media which transfers a lot of information to the child CITATION Mar98 \l 1033 (White). Parents only come to learn about this way too late when the child has already developed a habit from a behavior borrowed from the internet.
Another major effect is the lack of touch between a child and the parent. With internet addiction cropping up, parents are regarded as a second option to internet. Most children prefer associating with internet and their peers as compared to their parents. Most of them even reject family night outs that were conserved as a custom by the families before the entrenchment of the computer culture. They view their parents as way old fashioned. Family outs are regarded as archaic and things that need to be done away with. Most parents have been caught unawares by the internet generation. Some of the behaviors that are displayed by the children are so alien to the parents that they dont even know how to handle them.
Effects on the Parents
Parents have also not be left out on the internet syndrome. This issue in my view is one that goes round in circles. The reason why children are in such a situation as discussed above is because parents are to some extent to be blamed for the same.
Parents spend more time on the internet. A study shows that 30% of parents in America lack the essentials of parenting due to infiltration of the internet in the family CITATION Jef08 \l 1033 (Peters). Parents spend more time doing their own errands over the internet than rising up kids. As a result, we end up having kids with no moral standards at all
Another serious effect of internet on the parents is the rise of divorce cases. Among the worst effects of the internet is the high number of infidelity cases. Married couples have found it difficult to continue maintaining their relationships as a result of the exposure to cyber dating and the online dating sites. A parent comes home with a divorce suggestion on the basis that he/she has found a better person than the current partner thanks to the internet. If such divorces materialize, then its impact on the children cannot be overlooked. Children will grow up devoid of full parental care.
We should however appreciate that all is not lost. Internet is an area that is developing each and every day. Each day is a developing day in the world of internet. With regards to children, more regulations need to be put up by the parents to avoid the usage of internet for all the wrong reasons. Parents should also step up to their task of parenting. As a matter of fact, if parents were to step up to their roles as parents, then the whole family set up will be able to escape the negative effects of the internet.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Gottman, John. Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. Newyork: Adventure work press, 1998.
Mary, Rose. The Hidden Daughter. chicago: longhorn publishers, 1998.
Peters, Jeffrey. The Perfect Family. Washington D.C: PWC, 2008.
White, Mary. Marriage and the Society. New Delhi: Oxford Press, 1998.
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