Children and technology: Trade the Apple brand for fruit

Internet usage has become ubiquitous in all aspects of everyday life. But while this availability of information is a great tool, it can also produce some negative side effects.

“When it comes to students who use it for educational purposes, it has definitely proved to be (beneficial),” said Chandrika Bisht, MBA student in the Bauer College of Business. “Research, studying and homework are impossible without it. But a lot depends on who uses it for what purpose. Misuse in recent times has taken an upswing.”

Be it old scriptures, manuscripts or reference materials, the Internet serves as a one-stop solution for all. A plethora of online learning materials are on the Internet, such as videos, online lecture material, YouTube channels of open University courses, study groups and e-books.

One of the best examples of online learning tools is Blackboard, which is used often at UH. Apart from staying updated with the courses, it has provisions for forming discussion forums and posting material that aid in the learning curve.

The ease of utilizing sources for learning adds to performance levels. Expectations are more even for primary school classroom presentations. There is more room for creativity and innovation.

But another issue that has increased with sourcing material is plagiarism. In a survey of over 63,700 U.S. undergraduates and 9,250 graduate students from 2002 to 2005, Rutgers University found that 36 percent of undergraduates and 24 percent of graduate students self-reported to “paraphrasing/copying few sentences from Internet source without footnoting it.”

This has lifted the bar to higher levels. Competition is intense, and it is essential to have an edge over others. When it comes to hiring, most companies prefer candidates who proactively are well-versed with IT skills and software applications.

This limitless knowledge on the Internet is proving to be a weapon; however, it has also opened new avenues of career paths. Many of the organizations who work with confidential information and data ensure to have secured networks. Hackers are sought and assigned tasks even as freelance projects.

It seems nowadays that children learn to download apps even before they learn the alphabet. A for Apple or Android, M for meme and T for troll will probably be adopted and used in textbooks soon.

Smartphones and more handy electronic tools like an iPad or tablet have led to over-consumption of online media. The days when a steel alarm clock placed beside the bed would buzz to wake you up are gone. Young generations have become over-dependent on electronics.

This sudden over-exposure has corrupted the innocence of the youths. It may harm in the nurturing process and growth of a child. An agreement to consent with a click is not the best way to filter matured content for underage users.

A study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that while most students had good grades, 47 percent of the heaviest media users with at least 16 hours of usage per day had mostly C’s or lower, compared with 23 percent who consumed three hours a day or less. These over-using groups of young people were also likely to experience behavioral problems and bouts of depression.

But the pros still weigh a lot more than the cons. It is up to the parents to keep the cons at bay and to provide children with the tools for a healthy education.

Opinion columnist Aishwarya Gogoi is a petroleum engineering graduate student and may be reached at [email protected].

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