Should Parents Give Their Children Unrestricted Internet Acess?


As the era of technology progresses, the age that children gain access to devices that have internet access decreases. As stated in an article by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, a survey from 2019 found that three-quarters of 8-year-olds own a smart device and 40% of kids were chatting to strangers online. Children all over the nation often fall prey to traps, posing real risks and dangers for an unsupervised child. Executive chief of CyberSafe Alex Cooney emphasizes the need for a national parental online safety campaign that will guide and support parents through the importance of keeping their children safe, as the psychological effects of unrestricted internet access on minors can be irreversible and detrimental.

Some parents may argue that giving children devices such as iPads is an easy form of parenting. Take self-proclaimed Mommy Blogger Sigird for example, who claims that iPads are a tool for learning, introducing the device with her first child only 3 ½ years of age. She advocates for using the device to entertain her child with the only regulation being no games before bedtime.

Though many parents believe that providing access to devices grants their child a head start on development, they fail to acknowledge the risks that come with it. In order to address social problems, the American Academy of Pediatrics has advised parents to keep smartphones and laptops out of their children’s bedrooms and limit their tweeting and messaging, going on to say that “[u]nrestricted media use has been linked with violence, cyberbullying, problems at school, obesity and a lack of sleep…and parents should take stronger action on controlling their children’s use of devices.” Both children and adults are increasingly turning to the internet as a reliable and accurate source of information and entertainment.

Children now have access to an almost limitless amount of knowledge and opportunities for engagement thanks to the internet. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry or the AACAP, “most online services give children resources such as encyclopedias, current events coverage, and access to libraries and other valuable material. They can also play games and communicate with friends on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc.” The ability to “click” from one area to another appeals to a child’s natural impulsivity and curiosity and needs for immediate gratification or feedback. Granting your child unlimited-unrestricted and unmonitored internet access is simply setting them up for potential dangers and willingly exposing them to online predators that target young children.

Unmonitored access to the internet is detrimental to children’s development. In order to ensure that children are being as safe and as smart as possible, it is necessary to monitor and in some cases restrict access to certain sites.