Internet and Technology Hazards Computers and the Internet are great items for the household, but along with these advantages there are disadvantages. They are constantly changing the way that we live and do business. The Internet puts tons of information at a click of a button. This information is a great educational tool for children. The Internet can be very dangerous to young children, and there is also research being done now about possible problems that adults have with computers. It is the parents’ responsibility to make sure that the Internet is a safe place for their children.
I read an article called Internet and Computer Technology Hazards: Perspectives For Family Counseling. The author of this article is Jo Ann Oravec. It appeared in the British Journal of Guidance & Counseling, in August of 2000. I agreed with almost everything that she wrote. It was an interesting and compelling article.
The main reason that people watch the news, and look through various sources of information is to make sure that their homes are safe from possible nuisances in the neighborhood or from severe weather. When working with a network, a series of computers tied together, there are new and dangerous hazards that can go unnoticed. Viruses and security breaches by hackers are a few of the hazards that they may encounter.
The Internet is being used more and more for daily life. For many families the meaning of “Neighbor” is quickly changing from the people that live close to on-line relationships that they have. Now many people are doing their shopping, banking and other everyday activities on-line. Some people are also using the Internet to stay in touch with family members that live elsewhere. As families perform important educational and community activities on-line the meaning of home is changing at a rapid pace.
Some families are worried that the Internet could have an effect on their privacy. The privacy for a family is necessary to raising their children. Today it is possible to get information on nearly anyone via the Internet. Crimes such as hacking and identity theft are the main concerns of these families. Children may accidentally give out family information to marketers by filling out their on-line surveys. Many families believe that they could prevent these things from happening by shutting off contact with the Internet. This is a very dramatic solution, and when this is done the family is being cut off from much needed resources.
Technology is changing the setting in which children are raised and the way that adults receive support and understanding. The biggest problem of the Internet for adolescents is that they have access to on-line pornography. Pornography has the potential to damage the children’s innocent minds. There are many programs such as Surf Nanny, Net Nanny that restrict the areas of the Internet that children will be allowed to access. OneKey is a search engine that assures parents that it is a kid safe web page. It only provides links to sites that the staff has certified are suitable for children.
There is also available information on bomb making, hate groups, and literature that can be harmful. Some sites glorify deviant behaviors and prison criminals. Bomb making information can also be found in any Library, but the fact that children can access it while quietly working in their room is what scares people. Some children while on-line may encounter predators. These predators could use different identities and the children may be told that they are there age and give them information that could endanger them and other family members. There is a program that will help prevent this. It provides the option of automatically forwarding their children’s e-mail and chat room messages to the parents. This will give the parents the ability to notice any odd information and stop any potential disasters. This should only be used as a last resort.
All the programs that are available to help keep children out of unwanted web sites are not completely fail proof. Web pages are constantly being added from hate groups, and other groups that should not be available to children. It is hard to stop children from getting to this kind of information. Children are naturally curious. Parents are being encouraged to establish rules while on-line. The best way to make sure that your child is safe while on-line is to spend time with them while they are on-line. They will less likely come across that kind of material.
There are also many problems concerning computer usage that are being researched today. According to my article one of those problems that are being researched is called “Information Overload”. Currently it is just a myth, but studies are being done to figure out if it is a serious problem. The people that would suffer from this problem are people that bring computers and the Internet into their homes that have not had prior experience. Current research has shown that information overload affects the decision making process negatively.
Another possible problem that is being researched, that my article mentioned is called “Internet Addiction”. This is when someone puts to much time into his or her on-line research. They spend their time on the Internet rather than doing other things that they should be doing. This problem is not yet been covered as a medical problem. Also related to this is an on-line gambling problem. Emotional and financial problems can result from on-line gambling addictions. They may bet away some much needed money trying to double what they have. That may then lead to emotional problems when they don’t have the money to pay the bills.
Counselors are becoming involved in computer related issues for many reasons to help clients address their concerns and supply them with guidance. According to my article it said that they have recommended the use of time logs of computer usage. Many also get guidance on the issue of Internet pornography. They work on ways that they can prevent their children from coming in contact with that material. They also are being used for therapy for on-line gambling addictions. Some parents are even using on-line counseling, websites, and support groups for their help. This method is not the best method for helping parents, but it shows the parents that they are not alone.
Myself I believe that there is a problem with pornography on the Internet. It is way to easy for a young child to access that type of material. There is no reason that these young children should have access to that. Information overload is the one hazard that I am not real sure about. I can’t see how that would affect a person, but I guess anything is possible. Internet addiction is another hazard that I think is a possible problem. I could easily see a young child playing on the Internet rather than doing their homework. I can also see how people have a problem with on-line gambling. All they have to do is sit at home, log on and they can gamble from the comfort of their own home.
Oravec, Jo Ann. “Internet and Computer Technology Hazards: perspectives for family counseling.” British Journal of Guidance & Counseling August 2000: 16p.
Kevin Michael Grace. “Sex-Floggers.” The Report/Newsmagazine 18 December 2000: p43.
Noack, David. “Children Find Sex Online.” June 9, 2000. APBnews.com. February 12, 2001. *http://www.apbnews.com/newscenter/internetcrime/2000/06/09/kidsonline0609_01.html*.