Article that was published in an Atlanta Parenting magazine – March 2013
Parenting has always been an interesting concept, in that it involves both ever-constant necessities and concerns, but also changing methods and values. There are certain things that every parent throughout history has been concerned with, such as the basic health and safety of children; and, similarly, there are new concerns that arise with each generation, depending upon society, technology, and a number of other factors. Mothers in current times, however, have one of the largest adjustments, perhaps of all time, to get used to: the Internet. Children’s increased access to the Internet has legitimately changed the landscape of parenting and altered the ways in which children grow up and develop, and it is up to parents to keep an eye on this specific development. So, in order to help you, as a mother, to be on your guard and prepare adequately for different parenting hurdles, here are the top ___ ways in which the Internet may affect your child:
1. Revelation of Knowledge – Not long ago, parents had full influence over when their children found out about certain things. Unfortunately, the Internet has opened all sorts of new avenues for curious children, meaning that young kids have the capacity to find out the truth about anything from Santa Claus to sex. This is, again, unfortunate, but it is a reality that modern mothers have to be prepared for, either through restricting their children’s Internet access or figuring out ways to deal with revealing these sorts of knowledge to younger-aged children.
2. Schoolwork – Research and schoolwork have become increasingly simple as a result of the unlimited resource that is the Internet. Where once upon a time students had to go to libraries and read through books in order to complete assignments, the Internet now provides sources, information, and even straightforward answers. This can be a useful tool, but it is also important to make sure that your child’s learning process is not inhibited by the Internet.
3. Social Contact – Even without cell phones, kids can now be in virtually constant contact with one another through email, instant messaging, Facebook, and all sorts of other online methods. This can be great for your kids’ social lives, but it can also function toward limiting real world contact and actual bonding. Parents now face the challenge of encouraging social interaction while still limiting Internet exposure, which is no easy balance to achieve.
4. Social Exposure – Similarly, you will need to keep in mind, as your children grow up, that the Internet has provided all sorts of ways for kids to present public images, which can be a good or bad thing. It is important to remember that everything written, photographed, recorded, etc. with regard to your kids is now likely to end up on the Internet…. While this is unavoidable, it is your job to adequately explain the potential consequences to your children, so that they can make appropriate decisions.