Growing Up in the Digital Age: How to Prepare Your Child

Lakshmi | June 26, 2023

A child using laptop and smiling

The Internet has transformed the way children and adolescents grow up, offering new opportunities and challenges for the digital generation. With the ability to connect to people across the globe and access a wealth of information, the Internet has become an integral part of daily life for young people. However, the impact of the Internet on childhood and adolescence is complex, with both positive and negative effects on mental, physical, and social development. 

Let us explore the impact of the Internet on our children, examining the benefits and risks associated with technology use, and exploring strategies for promoting healthy digital habits that will help prepare our children for a future that can only be more digital than it is today. 


The positives of the Internet for our children

Growing up in the Internet age offers several positive effects for children and adolescents, foremost among them being access to information and educational resources, opportunities for online collaboration and socialization, and the development of digital literacy and technical skills.

  1. Access to a wealth of information and educational resources: The Internet provides a vast amount of information on almost any topic imaginable, ranging from academic research to DIY tutorials. This allows children and adolescents to learn at their own pace and explore topics that may not be covered in traditional educational settings. Additionally, digital resources like online textbooks, video lectures, and interactive educational tools provide new ways of learning and can be particularly helpful for visual or auditory learners.

  2. Online collaboration and socialization opportunities: The Internet allows young people to connect with others from different parts of the world and form meaningful relationships. Online communities can provide a sense of belonging and support, particularly for those who may feel isolated or marginalized in their in-person social circles. Online collaboration tools also allow young people to work together on projects and share ideas, promoting teamwork and communication skills.

  3. Development of digital literacy and technical skills: In today's digital economy, having technical skills and digital literacy is increasingly important. Growing up in the Internet age allows children and adolescents to develop these skills from an early age, preparing them for future careers and opportunities. Additionally, learning to navigate the digital world can be empowering and help young people feel confident in their abilities.

  4. Exposure to diverse perspectives and cultures: The Internet allows young people to interact with people from all over the world, exposing them to different cultures and ways of thinking. This can promote empathy and understanding, and help young people develop a more global perspective.

  5. Enhanced creativity and self-expression: The Internet provides a platform for young people to share their creative works, whether it be writing, photography, music, or art. This allows for increased self-expression and can be a source of pride and validation for young people.

  6. Increased access to healthcare information and resources: The Internet provides access to healthcare information and resources, which can help young people manage their physical and mental health. For example, online support groups and forums can provide a sense of community for young people facing health challenges.

  7. More efficient communication and connectivity: The Internet makes it easier for young people to stay in touch with friends and family, regardless of location. Social media and messaging apps provide instantaneous communication, allowing for easy coordination and planning.

  8. Access to online communities and support groups: Online communities and support groups can provide a safe space for young people to connect with others who share their experiences or challenges. This can be particularly valuable for young people who may feel isolated or alone in their in-person communities

  9. Opportunities for online activism and advocacy: The Internet provides a platform for young people to raise their voices on issues that matter to them. Social media campaigns, online petitions, and other forms of digital advocacy can be powerful tools for effecting change and making a difference.

  10. Development of problem-solving and critical thinking skills: The Internet presents new challenges and opportunities for young people to navigate, promoting problem-solving and critical thinking skills. For example, learning to discern credible sources from misinformation or learning to protect oneself from online threats requires critical thinking and decision-making skills.

The negatives of the Internet for our children 

The negative effects of growing up in the digital age are also worth considering. The following are three of the most significant negative effects:


  • Risks associated with excessive screen time and sedentary lifestyles: 

    An analysis has shown that children's average daily screen time increased by 1.5 times during the pandemic. Before the pandemic, the baseline for screen time was 162 minutes a day, but during the pandemic, it rose to 246 minutes. The use of handheld devices and personal computers also increased, with an average increase of 44 and 46 minutes per day, respectively. Young people who spend too much time in front of screens can be at risk for a range of negative health outcomes, including obesity, poor sleep quality, and eye strain. Additionally, too much screen time can lead to a sedentary lifestyle, which can increase the risk of chronic health conditions like heart disease and diabetes.


  • Cyberbullying and other online dangers: 

    The anonymity of the Internet can make it a breeding ground for bullying and other types of harassment. A survey conducted by Comparitech of over 1,000 parents of children aged 5 and over has found that more parents than ever report that their children are getting bullied, both at school or online. The results of the survey show that 47.7% of parents with children aged 6-10 reported their children were bullied, while the percentage increased to 56.4% for parents with children aged 11-13. Furthermore, the survey found that 59.9% of parents with children aged 14-18 reported their children were bullied, and 54.3% of parents with children aged 19 and older reported the same. Cyberbullying can have serious negative effects on a child's mental health and self-esteem, and can even lead to tragic consequences like suicide. Additionally, children may be exposed to other online dangers like online predators or inappropriate content.


  • Reduced face-to-face social interactions and communication skills: 

    While the Internet provides opportunities for online socialization, it can also lead to a reduction in face-to-face interactions. This can have negative effects on communication skills, including the ability to read nonverbal cues and understand social norms. Additionally, young people may become overly reliant on technology for communication, leading to difficulties in building and maintaining relationships offline. According to a study by scientists at UCLA, sixth-graders who refrained from using digital screens, such as smartphones and televisions, for five consecutive days, performed significantly better at reading human emotions compared to their peers who continued to use electronic devices for hours each day.


Balancing Screen Time and Real-Life Activities 

As children's internet use continues to increase, it's essential for parents and caregivers to manage their online time and encourage a healthy balance with real-life activities. Here are some recommendations for achieving that balance:

  1. Manage online time: 

    While the amount of screen time children can have varies depending on their age and individual circumstances, it's important to set limits and monitor their online activities. This can include setting specific times of day for online activities, using parental control software to restrict access to certain websites or apps, and encouraging children to take breaks and engage in other activities throughout the day.

  2. Encourage physical activity and outdoor play: 

    Regular physical activity is crucial for children's physical and mental health. Encourage children to participate in activities they enjoy, such as sports, dance, or bike riding. Spending time outside in nature can also be beneficial for mental health, so encourage children to go on hikes, explore local parks, or simply play outside.

  3. Promote in-person social interactions: 

    While technology has made it easier than ever to connect with others online, in-person social interactions are still important for children's social and emotional development. Encourage children to participate in organized activities, such as team sports or clubs, and arrange playdates with friends.

  4. Encourage healthy digital habits: 

    The internet can be a wonderful resource for children, but it's important to teach them how to use it safely and responsibly. This includes being mindful of online privacy and security, avoiding cyberbullying and other harmful behaviors, and being respectful of others online.

  5. Minimize risks associated with technology use: 

    While technology can offer many benefits, it also comes with potential risks. Monitor children's online activity and limit access to inappropriate content or dangerous websites. Use parental controls to block certain apps or features that may be inappropriate or dangerous for children. It's also important to have open and honest conversations with children about the potential risks associated with technology use and how to stay safe online.


Future Implications of Growing Up in the Digital Age 

As technology continues to evolve and become more integrated into daily life, ethical and societal implications arise. For instance, issues of privacy, surveillance, and the potential for misuse of personal data have become prevalent concerns. Additionally, the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation could lead to job displacement and economic inequality.

Education and policy will play a critical role in preparing young people for a digital future. Schools and educators must provide children with the skills and knowledge to navigate the digital landscape safely and ethically. They must also emphasize the importance of face-to-face communication and socialization to ensure that young people do not miss out on the benefits of real-world experiences. Policies and regulations must also be developed to protect children and ensure the responsible use of technology by individuals and companies.


The role of Mobicip in your child’s digital journey 

Mobicip is a powerful internet filtering and parental control solution that can help parents keep their children safe online. Here are some ways in which Mobicip can help:

  1. Internet filtering: Mobicip's advanced filtering technology ensures that children are only able to access appropriate content online. The filter can be customized to block specific categories of content, such as adult websites, gambling, drugs, and more.

  2. Time management: With Mobicip, parents can set time limits on their child's internet usage. This can help ensure that children are not spending too much time online and are engaging in other activities like outdoor play and homework.

  3. App monitoring: Mobicip also allows parents to monitor the apps that their children are using on their devices. This can help parents identify any potentially harmful apps and take appropriate action.

  4. Remote monitoring: Mobicip's remote monitoring feature allows parents to keep an eye on their child's online activities from anywhere. This is especially useful for parents who are not always at home to supervise their children's internet use.

  5. Safe search: Mobicip's safe search feature ensures that children are not exposed to inappropriate content when using search engines like Google. This feature can be enabled for all browsers and search engines on the child's device.

Take away 

The digital age has fundamentally changed our children’s lives, offering both opportunities and challenges. In this article, we have explored the positive and negative effects of growing up in the internet age, as well as strategies for managing children's screen time and promoting healthy digital habits. We have also discussed the future implications of technology and the need for education and policy to prepare young people for a digital future. As parents, educators, and policymakers, we must work together to harness these benefits while minimizing the risks associated with excessive screen time and online dangers. With thoughtful and responsible use, the internet can be a powerful tool for enriching children's lives and preparing them for success in the digital age.

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