Hamrick1Alicia HamrickProfessor Alicia BoltonENG 10111 March 2013The Internet: Beauty or the BeastAmy Goldwasser’s essay “What’s the Matter with Kids Today?”sheds light on thedispute of today’s youth using the internet. As a women of the older generations, she herself, is alittle, as one would say, “dumb founded” with the internet and its capabilities. Yet, she is not onewhom is against its use as a form of communication or as a knowledgeable resource. Usingexamples of statistical analyses from the National Endowment for the Arts and Common Coreysurvey group, Goldwasser argues that there is not enough research to prove that the internet has anegative impact on kids. She also speaks on the issue of kids using the internet for the means ofcommunication, allowing them to express their feelings as “honest documentarians” (Goldwasser667). She goes on to say that one day one may win the Nobel Prize for writing and thank theinternet for making it possible (Goldwasser 669). Although I disagree with her idea of “trustingour kids to communicate as they will online” (Goldwasser 669), I do agree with her beliefs thatthe internet is not all bad, providingit’s used properly, and not as a “go to” for all of one’sknowledgeable resources.I disagree with Goldwasser’s claim that teens should be allowed to use the internet freely.This is not logical thinking, because childrenwill come into contact with people and things theyshould not while online. Whether it be inappropriate for their age or a child predator, there arejust somethings children do not need to see. As a parent, I know that my teenagers are going todo as much as I let them get away with. I agreethat children should be able to explore
Hamrick2theirsurroundings,because that is how they learn, but as adults, we are responsible for protectingthem from things that may harm them in anyway. In the February/ March 2008 issue of theAmerican Psychologist,it states that most internet-related sex crimes result frommen befriendingteenage girls between 13 to 15 years of age (Parks p.18). As a mother of six children, five ofwhich are girls, that is a scary thought to grasp. I have always tried to keep a close eye on myeldest two daughters’ Facebook profiles and emails, knowing their passwords and following theirfriends’ pages as well. I understand that I am not always going to be able to know 100% ofeverything that my children are doing, whether it be online or even in school.As an involvedparent, I feel I have taught my children well enough to protect themselves from such incidents.But as those protecting children get smarter, so do the predators. According to the Center forInternet Addiction Recovery as of August 2009, “Statistics already show that 1 in 5 children areapproached by a cyber-predator making internet safety a number one parental priority” (Parks p.22). For myself meaning the odds of one of my children being a cyber-predator’s target are toohigh for comfort.However, I do agree that today’s youth can increase their knowledge by using theinternet, because it is so easily accessible. As Goldwasser states, “97% of the teenagers in theCommon Core survey connected “I have a dream” with its speaker…” (Goldwasser 667).Through the use of the internet and today’s technology children are learning so much more atmuch younger ages. For instance, my four-year old daughter uses my E-Reader to play gamesthat are teaching her to read, write, solve puzzles, and identify new or uncommon things, allwhile she is entertaining herself. It’s all about how the internet is used.Also, the internet isproviding teens a place to express their feelings whether it be about their personal life or aboutthe election of the next president.In addition to academic knowledge, access to the internet has
Hamrick3also provided children with the knowledge of what’s going outside of their communities. Theyare now learning the importance of what is going on in the world, not just what shows up in theirlocal newspapers or on the local news stations. I believe that is very important, considering thatwe live in such a diverse world. As Goldwasser states, “Once we stop regarding the Internet as avillain, stop presenting it as the enemy of history and literature and worldly knowledge, then ourteenagers have the potential to become the next great voices of America” (669).I believe that could be the case for any teenager considering that the internet does notdiscriminate against age, race, or sexuality. It provides a place for everyone to be equal and havetheir voices heard.Thus, with guidance and supervision teens and children can use the internet to stayconnected with friends and family, and also learn anything they want all with just a click of amouse. So with a little time and effort from adults the internet can be made and a safe andenjoyable place for children of all ages.Works Citied
Hamrick4Goldwasser, Amy. “What’s the Matter with Kids Today?”The Norton Field Guide to Writing.2nded. Ed. Marilyn Moller. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2010. 666-669.Print.Parks, Peggy J. "Current Issues: Online Social Networking." Current Issues: Online SocialNetworking. 2011: n.pag. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 10 Mar 2013.