Today’s Teenagers use technology more than ever. Most of them have Internet access, which they use to send and receive email, instant messages, live chat, and more. Rarely do they stop to think about how harmful the Internet can be, such as exposure to pornography, cyber-bullying, sexting (an act of sending sexually explicit materials), etc. However, the Internet has adverse affects on teenager’s social life, mental health and physical health. The Internet has an adverse impact on the social life of teenagers.
According to Brent Staples, “… the heavy use of the Net actually isolates younger socially connected people who are unwittingly allowing time online to replace face-to-face interaction with their families and friends” (1). This means that due to over usage of Internet, teenagers become isolated from communicating to family and friend. Today, due to popularity of social networking sites, teenagers are encouraged to post their profile on them because they want to be accepted by cyberspace peers.
The profile helps them to meet and make friends with strangers. In turn, the stranger may be a predator who expose the teen to child pornography and encourage the teens to exchange pornography. In some cases the predator wants to meet for the purpose of having sex. Also, the strangers may influence the teenagers to join the groups and the gangs which are engage in improper or illegal activities such as cyber fraud, drug trafficking, and more. All this heavy use of internet by teenagers may affect their mental health.
Teenagers who grow up interacting online may find it harder to make friends in the real world and they became aloof, withdrawn and depressed. According to Staples, teenagers can actually “… lose friends, and experience symptoms of loneliness and depression, after joining discussion groups and other activities” and this causes teens to become emotionally empty and frustrated (1). Also, as results of cyber-bullying, teenagers become stressed, depressed, frustrated, and have lower self-esteem. In turn, this increases the suicidal thoughts in teenagers.
All these mental effects may leads to decrease their focus on daily tasks. Heavy use of internet, leads to physical health problem. Internet limits the teenagers time for real world physical activities. Staple says that teenagers spend their free hours in sunless room (2), which is so true. Today, teenagers seats in front of computer for hours and hours in their bedroom without the source of sunlight or fresh air which is very good for health. Nowadays, teenagers prefers to play online games instead of outdoor games such as basketball, football, baseball, etc. hich limits their physical activities. Limitations in physical activities cause obesity in teens. Also, teenagers eat more unhealthy snacks while using the Internet. Sometimes, teenager skips the meals like lunch or dinner instead they eat more junk foods such as chips, cookies, etc. so that they don’t have to stop the use of Internet. These habits of eating unhealthy foods may causes obesity. Obesity leads to many other diseases such as Diabetes, Heart diseases, etc. in the teenagers.
All these harmful effects of Internets on teenagers may effects their social development. To prevent these harmful effects on our teens, we as a family, friend or community needs to help them. Encourage and involved the teenagers into non-Internet activities such as team sports, scouts, be a volunteer in community, etc. Let the teenagers know the positive and negative side of the Internet. Tell teens what they are missing while they were spending their time on Internet. Today’s teenagers need your help to reduce the Internet use.