There’s no doubt that the Internet has many advantages, especially for students. Having Wi-Fi at home is the norm and the incredible access to information and connectivity is a gift for students of all ages. The Internet and education do go hand-in-hand and the benefits are manifold.
Unlimited access to information: This is the main advantage for both teachers and students as information about any subject, course, formula, date and famous person can be accessed from verified and updated sources.
Communication and connectivity: Information regarding homework, school announcements and ongoing projects can be shared online through the various platforms designed specifically for school use. There are now no more excuses for not knowing what homework to do!
Time management: Technology should improve the way a student works and studies. While the Internet does do this, it’s also an unavoidable distraction for even the most disciplined of children. Follow simple rules like having a time limit for being online, strictly follow study and homework deadlines and instil the habit of turning devices off when everything is done.
Improving tech skills: Basic IT skills are a must and exposure to the Internet is beneficial for children to know what’s going on. As students progress with their studies, their interaction with tech will increase especially if they plan to study anything IT related or even just to do their homework.
Parents should adhere (easier said than done!) to guidelines, routines and maintaining boundaries regarding use of the Internet at home. This can be done by:
- Cultivate a good relationship with your children by spending quality time with them no matter how busy you are. Try not to use technology as a babysitter unless there's no alternative.
- Control the online environment and teach children about internet safety, the reality of cyberbullying and the real dangers of being too exposed online.
- Check on what they’re looking at regularly and be aware of any changes in their behaviour as this could be a sign of something happening online or through social media.
- Balance is important and must be taught to children from the beginning. Enforce time limits and boundaries and encourage them to go play / do sports / interact with other children.
- Show a good example because if you’re online constantly, it’s very difficult to justify all the above especially to older children. Get off your device and make it a habit to spend time with them without any electronic interruption.
The Internet and technology in general are necessary for children to learn, but without control and balance, it can turn against you. Set the precedence from the beginning to avoid arguments and trouble later.