Children and the Internet

Generation X grew up with color television and VCRs (a few vaguely remember BetaMax). They enjoyed PacMan, Space Invaders and Defender. By the time they graduated high school, they knew of the existence of personal computers.

Today's youth enjoy Doom, virtual reality and, most importantly, the Internet.

But there is much concern over children's use of the Internet. The biggest concern centers around young children accessing and viewing "inappropriate" material. Usually, this material is pornographic in nature. The government is poised to step in and attempt some form of regulation. Recently, technology and online industry groups met to discuss ways to prevent government intervention. Their plan is to educate parents on "how to highlight Internet sites that are clean enough for kids" and ponder ways to improve the use of screening software most Internet providers offer.1

One of the biggest issues deals with the development of social skills necessary to survive in the world. As the Internet infatuation grows with children, causing them to spend more and more time online instead of interacting personally with their peers, will they lose something of intrinsic value?

The Internet is creeping into our schools and there are mixed feelings about this from teachers, parents and, sometimes, the students. Is it a good thing to teach through computers? Is it a bad thing? Will students learn more or less? Much research has been conducted and more and more is underway as the issue continues to develop.2

Winter Park High School in Orlando, Fla., is gearing up to become the state's only online school, named The Florida High School. The school is hoping to completely do away with classrooms in the near future, offering all classes by computer. It is believed this will help the problem of overcrowding in schools.3

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