The internet is a beautiful thing and serves a great many purposes. (Hello, it has literally made my career possible.) Of course, like all good things, there are also some bad points. I have no doubt that the internet has improved my kid’s childhood in many ways but I can’t help but think about the ways that it is ruining it too. Overall, the internet has eliminated a lot of mystery from our lives and for kids, that is not always a good thing. I think there is a such thing as knowing too much too soon. The internet makes information very available and also, nearly eliminates the need for human contact. When used improperly, it has the ability to change our kid’s lives- not necessarily for the better. Here are 10 things the internet has killed for kids:
1. Learning Patience. Do you remember hurrying to Blockbuster Video after school on a Friday to rent the latest video game or movie only to find that it was sold out? You would either pick something else or shuffle out and know that you had to wait another week. Of course, it kind of sucked but it also taught us to be patient and that certain things are worth the wait. This is true across the board with our kid’s “On Demand” lives. They really don’t have to wait for much anymore with entertainment and I’m not sure it’s doing anything to build character.
2. Getting Real Letters In The Mail. Of course, we still have the ability to receive letters in the mail but no one really does that anymore. I remember having pen pals from other countries via Girl Scouts or history class and learning about other cultures that way. The internet can definitely perform that function too but there is something about getting a real letter in the mail that the internet cannot top.
3. Passing Notes In Class. Don’t we all remember that nervous tingle when we successfully passed a note to a friend in class? Not anymore. There is Snapchat, texting, Twitter, Facebook, etc. It is now so easy to communicate covertly. It just doesn’t seem as exciting.
4. Playing Outside. Kids still play outside but if they are super into their Smartphones and tablets, it becomes more an obligation than an exciting activity. I mean, that Play 60 campaign being put on by the NFL- did anyone need to convince you to play outside for an hour when you were a kid? To get you to move and up off the couch? Hell no. It was all I wanted to do.
5. Anonymity. Parents start putting pictures of their kids on the internet for upvotes beginning with that first ultrasound photo. Kids mostly don’t have the option to be non-existent on the internet.
6. Using Books For Research. I used to love going to the library to track down books for my schoolwork. There was something about carrying home a stack of books and weeding through them that a quick Google cannot match. Of course, it’s easier now- but is easier always better?
7. Not Knowing What Your Friends Did On Weekends Until Monday. I can remember as a teen feeling a pressure on weekends to do something fun but even on my “loser” weekends where I sat at home I had no way of knowing if my peers were having more fun than I was until the weekend was over. Now, Instragram is loaded with pictures and kids can see who is hanging out with whom, and possibly, discovering they have been left out. Ah, blissful ignorance was not a bad thing.
8. Awkward Photos From The Teen Years. Why keep them when you can delete them?
9. Learning About Sex From A Person. You can now find out about sex from Google instead of your cool, older cousin or even, your parents. And who even knows what our kids will be able to see when that time comes?
10. Talking To People In Person. I have teenage nephews and have noted their discomfort during in-person conversations. Of course, teenagers have had awkward social interactions since the dawn of time but now that the internet is here, we have entirely removed the need for talking to someone in person. I firmly believe it is doing them no favors in the social skills department.
This first ran on Mommyish. Read more here.