Is Internet Distraction A Good Thing Or A Bad Thing For Kids?

from the talk-to-some-kids dept

It’s pretty obvious by now that there are tons of distractions that can be found on the internet, and if you’re not careful, you can certainly get dragged away from something more important. However, has an article suggesting that because kids these days are growing up with so many internet distractions, they won’t be able to accomplish nearly as much as older generations who had no such distractions and could concentrate on just doing stuff. In fact, the author writes: “We’re not preparing kids for the future.”

Now that strikes me as odd, because my thought was exactly the opposite. These distractions are there — and since kids these days are growing up with such distractions, they’re used to them and take it as a natural state of affairs. In other words, by getting them to think of continuous partial attention as the norm from a very young age, we absolutely are preparing them for the future. Of course, the real answer may lie somewhere in-between — in that it may depend on just what people are trying to accomplish.

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Comments on “Is Internet Distraction A Good Thing Or A Bad Thing For Kids?”

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Matt says:

control is not the issue, education is

The issue is making sure that the kids know how to handle situations that can come up (stalkers, etc) properly on the web. After that, unleashing them to discover their own creative potential will pay off huge.

My niece for example, we started her at 5 with chatrooms (the old allakhazam/etc ones with the smileys moving in different rooms), and she proceeded to become a very intelligent geeky girl…obsessed with the harry potter rooms, etc….but did she turn out smart, and still become herself? Hell yes.

People will be whoever they will be with or without the internet. That predisposition that your personality develops down a path because of how your life has gone will occur with or without the net.

I’m sure within the parenting, her parents watched the amount of time she was on but for the most part gave her free reign. (user link) says:

There has always been something to distract each generation of kids and adults. While, I will admit that the internet does seem to be a never ending supply of distractions. I do think that working adults get a lot less done, when they have the internet on their work PC. Not everyone, but I think since the internet has been in offices, the overall work has gone down a bit.

JJ (profile) says:

Kid and the internet

It’s called multi-tasking… any kid who can pull off 5 IM chat windows while in 3 different IRC rooms, posting on a forum board, editing a wiki page, playing a video game, ripping a cd and downloading the new Indiana Jones movie SIMULTANEOUSLY will probably be the first person to push that old geezer working in your company into early retirement. You know the one, the old guy that keeps asking you how to print out each email he receives so he can read it… Not to metion this new ‘super-kid-of-the-future’ is the entire reason computer companies are making quad-core processors.
Also, I think that the fact that kids are growing up learning to do all of this in the background while still being able to think through long term problems / strategize / do homework / make important life decisions
is nothing short of amazing!

HasDistractedKids says:

Yep, I’m here to say that IM, RPG, Social networking and youtube can distract kids. Sometimes a lot. But, other non-internet related stuff can distract kids as well. When homework gets long and boring, distractions distract. But, kids get past that as they get older. Sometimes Mom or Dad has to step in and redirect. Nothing new there. The internet isn’t going away, so it’s our job to make sure they interact with it responsibly, find their real passions and do them as much as possible. And, if the passion is RPG, so be it. My 13-year old son, on his own, just downloaded the MSFT C compiler, recompled source for an RPG, set up a server and a VPN so his friends could play a customized version. Now that’s passion!

Joe says:

distractions are the reality but....

the question now becomes – is the improved ability to multi-task at the expense of being able to focus on single projects for extended periods of time.

I think Mike is off on this one. While I don’t agree with all items in Elgan’s article, I think the general point that to grow beyond average, a person needs the ability to focus. I juggle tasks like everyone else, but when I need to produce – the door closes, email gets turned off and the phone comes off the hook (still waiting for the girlfriend mute button).

Kids today don’t need lessons in multi-tasking. They get that from the ambient environment, they need training in how to better prioritize and filter inputs in order to focus.

Ryan says:

I shoulllld be...

doing my homework right now, but this story distracted me. As previous posters pointed out, its our ability to mulitask that will give us an edge. I work at a retail store and at any given moment I am doing a million things, and I got a raise because of it. There are tons of distractions, but that doesnt change things.

I would be more worried about the inability of the young generation to work. Many are too spoiled to get off their butts to do anything anyways.

The son can only be better than the father if the son had a worse life. (not a better one)

nattie says:

Distractions Distract

Im researching this topic, and I already got distracted about 5 minutes ago by going on facebook. There are stuff on the internet that help me do my homework, and there’s stuff that distract me as well. Yes, I need to be able multi-task to get somewhere in life, but I also need to have boundaries. I believe that the internet has pros and cons. It helps, but not all the time. Computers at schools should have internet safety filters, and should be powerful. Parents should put a limit on the time kids spend on the internet at home. That will cause kids to do there research on the internet and with the remaining time, they can do what they want. Adults… time has changed, and new things are being created, which results into change. Balance is what life is all about.

Bob Willy says:

The internet is not for people

When I first started using the net, I was one of those people who believed it would revolutionize connecting with people. Way before the net, I was an outgoing person, and had alot of friends.

But after reading nasty blogs written by maniacs, reading crazy talk inside Craigslist adds, I realized that the net is a place where bad people go to vent their anger.

The net really should be shut down. In terms of what it doesn’t offer, people need to relearn the art of meeting people, becoming friends. Spending time with other people .

The net is not a substitute for the real world. Though I didn’t form my ideas from the net, I believe that the net creates excessive alienation.

The internet is not a winner.

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