What are some advantages and disadvantages of Internet use for children and adults?

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bridgetrbcs | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

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The internet can be both helpful and hindering to people of all ages. 

 For children, the internet provides a vast library of knowledge.  Students literally have the world at their fingertips.  Any topic can be researched at any time, day or night.  The internet also makes learning the textbook content more interesting by offering games and short videos that students may watch and interact with.

  For adults, it is still a wonderful resource for information about diseases, world news, parenting tips, and many other things.  Again, adults, like children, can research any topic at any time.  There are also games on the internet, as well as forums and groups, that cater to the interests of individuals.  Many adults choose to shop online instead of going to the mall or department stores.

The internet, however, can be harmful to children and adults in quite a few ways.  Online predators are always out preying on children who will willing give away their personal information.  Children may also "stumble" across sites that are inappropriate for them.  Some problems for adults that are caused by the internet are pornography, lack of real-life relationships, laziness, and gambling.

Here's a simple little video that examines the pros and cons of the internet:


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dswain001 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

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The Internet is a marvelous invention. Because of its introduction into education and its availability to just about anyone, the world will probably never be the same.

People of all ages can log on 24/7 in search of whatever they need. The elderly woman who is unable to drive can log onto the Internet and shop for groceries, fill a prescription or even chat with her grandchildren via web cam.

Collectors no longer have to scour flea markets and yard sales on weekends to find coveted items to add to their collections all they have to do is log on to Ebay and post a bid. Anything can be purchased on line now. Clothing, Jewelry, Furniture...even take-out.

As a teacher I have found the Internet to be extremely useful in planning lessons. The web has a plethora of sites created specifically for teachers to share ideas, change information, and share documents (thanks enotes!). Perhaps young people stand to gain the most from using the Internet. In addition to being able to express themselves and show creativity on sites like MySpace and Twitter, they can also use the net for school projects and homework.

Still, for every pro, there is a con. I think that students sometimes rely too much in the internet. They don't seem to understand that just because something is on Google, that doesn't make it a reliable source. I cannot count the number of times a student has turned in an essay that contains incorrect facts from sites that have been created by someone who isn't an authority on the topic.

Chat rooms have become the new playground for sexual predators. The Internet gives them the anonymity they need to lure unsuspecting children into inappropriate conversations and in some cases meeting up with them. There are laws that keep predators away from parks and schools, but none keeping them off the Internet.

Without proper supervision, children can accidentally log on to pornographic websites. Even adults can fall prey to identity theft and stolen passwords if they aren't careful about the things they are downloading onto their computer.


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marilynn07 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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Great answer.  One more potential problem is the same as with books- most people who are writing are trying to convince the reader of something.  In books, other print material and on the internet, some people may be mistaken in what interpretation they put on what they write. An example of this would be a statistical analysis I once read on an internet site.  It said that 86% of statistics found on the internet were simply made up, which could of course include that statistic.  Just as in all research, you need to keep at it long enough to balance out enough information to arrive at a true understanding.


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pjmartin | Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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While there are many advantages and disadvantages to the use of the Internet, one or two stand out as the key points for children and adults alike.

The Internet offers a wealth of information, available at any time, from any place with a 'Net connection. For those who live in an area without access to a large, well-stocked library, this is a huge advantage, especially for students and researchers.

This also brings a disadvantage, if the user isn't discerning. Much of the information available is incorrect, incomplete, or misleading. It is crucial to develop critical analysis skills and/or to be able to corroborate information before accepting it as "gospel truth."

Another double-edged Internet point is that there is also a plethora of entertainment sites, including games, available to users. While this allows children and adults alike to learn new skills through games, as well as to simply have fun, it can also quickly become a new addiction, leading to "couch potato syndrome." Like most anything in life, Internet usage can become too much of a good thing.

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karensuggs | College Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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Strangely, the advantages of internet use are simply a flip side of the coin with disadvantages. The structure and contributions of the internet are basically unregulated. The information and activity contained within the internet is vast from the most innocent to the most offensive. Before the internet was created or restricted to the use of academics, children and adults were influenced by the size of their immediate day to day contacts. They might expand influence through literature or movies, but literature and movies were basically regulated. Now people can come into contact with information and people that only a short time ago they would never have had contact with even throughout their lives.

Albert Bandura advanced the notion of observational and vicarious learning. This theory is at the heart of the disadvantage of the internet. We are exposed to information we never would have had contact. Through vicarious learning we will likely assimilate some of what we view online. Nothing can be unseen or unlearned no matter how detrimental it may be.

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I have noticed a huge difference at college libraries. The book stacks are nearly deserted most of the time, while the rooms that have computers are packed night and day. The libraries are putting in more computers and more and more. There is never enough of them. This means that education is changing. There is bound to be a lot more electronic education and a lot less book-education. What students seem to like about the computer, including the Internet, is that it is interactive. They can find out what they want to know and not just be passive recipients of whatever is fed to them. I think this is mostly good. I think there will be a lot more education away from school campuses. This has been evolving for many years. First students began driving to school, attending a lecture, and then leaving by car. Now they can attend the lecture by viewing it on the monitor, and they can record it and watch it over again at their own convenience. They may be looking at things that are a little naughty, but if that's what they're interested in they will satisfy their curiosity and then move on to other subjects. The interactive nature of the Internet presents a great challenge to educators, because a hundred students can be following a hundred different topics at the same time. How is the educator going to keep up with all of them? And all this electronic communication and interaction is only in its infancy!!!

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drtrbrown | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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Advantages and disadvantages of internet use amongst children and adults can be viewed from various angles - objectively, or subjectively. If a person is in favor of technology, then he/she might find more advantages than disadvantages for its use. However, if a person believes in manual work and that technology may one day be used to replace human work, then the he/she may view internet use to be more damaging than good.  In responding to this question, it is my hope to be neutral and state the disadvantages and advantages as matter-of-fact. So here goes...

Internet use has several advantages, of which a few are included below, among children and adults. They are:

1.  It provides access to a wealth of referenced sources and information, as well as, common information from around the globe.

2.  It allows people (i.e. family members, different races and cultures, different economic and social backgrounds, etc.) to connect and exchange ideas, personal and professional experiences, as well as, historical and up-to-date events and activities.

3. It facilitates classroom enrichment activities, opportunities for learning and work, as well as immediate transmittal of critical, or time-based, documents.

Internet use has several disadvantages, of which a few are included below, among children and adults. They are:

1. It can serve as an avenue for predators to find victims.

2. It is available only to families and businesses that have the resources to subscribe to its services, or have access through other locations.

3.  It may cause people to lose track of time and even become severely attached, or addicted, to its use.


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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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An advantage of the Internet which may not have been mentioned is that it is making it possible for people to communicate with one another from different parts of the world. This should lead to better understanding among people and hopefully decrease the likelihood of wars. No doubt the Internet will contribute to the development of a single human language in the distant future. That common language seems likely to be English, but that does not mean it would necessarily eliminate all other languages. 

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juliet926 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Salutatorian

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There are advantages and disadvantages of the internet.


  • A source of education for students
  • Provide e-commerce faclities
  • Chat rooms, songs and other entertainment
  • Telecommuting.
  • promoting businesses
  • online classes for students
  • customer services and support
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lilos404 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Honors

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The foremost target of internet has always been the communication. And internet has excelled beyond the expectations.Now we can communicate in a fraction of second with a person who is sitting in the other part of the world.......
Information is probably the biggest advantage internet is offering. The Internet is a virtual treasure trove of information. Any kind of information on any topic under the sun is available on the Internet. The search engines like Google, yahoo is at your service on the Internet. You can almost find any type of data on almost any kind of subject that you are looking for. There is a huge amount of information available on the internet for just about every subject known to man, ranging from government law and services, trade fairs and conferences, market information, new ideas and technical support, the list is end less..
Entertainment is another popular raison d'être why many people prefer to surf the Internet. In fact, media of internet has become quite successful in trapping multifaceted entertainment factor. Downloading games, visiting chat rooms or just surfing the Web are some of the uses people have discovered. There are numerous games that may be downloaded from the Internet for free.
Many services are now provided on the internet such as online banking, job seeking, purchasing tickets for your favorite movies, guidance services on array of topics engulfing the every aspect of life, and hotel reservations. Often these services are not available off-line and can cost you more.

Theft of Personal information
If you use the Internet, you may be facing grave danger as your personal information such as name, address, credit card number etc. can be accessed by other culprits to make your problems worse.

Spamming refers to sending unwanted e-mails in bulk, which provide no purpose and needlessly obstruct the entire system. Such illegal activities can be very frustrating for you, and so instead of just ignoring it, you should make an effort to try and stop these activities so that using the Internet can become that much safer.

Virus threat
Virus is nothing but a program which disrupts the normal functioning of your computer systems. Computers attached to internet are more prone to virus attacks and they can end up into crashing your whole hard disk, causing you considerable headache.

This is perhaps the biggest threat related to your children’s healthy mental life. A very serious issue concerning the Internet. There are thousands of pornographic sites on the Internet that can be easily found and can be a detrimental factor to letting children use the Internet.

Though, internet can also create havoc, destruction and its misuse can be very fatal, the advantages of it outweigh its disadvantages.

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avasbruce | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Salutatorian

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The Internet has revolutionized the world, but it brings with it both good and bad things.


People can connect and interact with others quickly and cheaply. We are "closer" to others because of this connectivity. We can use skype etc.

The Internet is like the "knowledge" center of the world. We can find information on almost anything in a number of languages quickly and efficiently. We don't need to really go to a physical library anymore because everything is online.

The Internet is great for learning in the form of e-learning and distance education. This is great not only for children but also for adults.

The Internet has given rise to new businesses and new ways of earning money. Look at Ebay, Amazon and all the other e-commerce websites. People can just work from home and make tons of money if they have the knowledge, ability and luck.



There are new types of crime and security threaths. It's not 100% safe due to hackers and people who steal sensitive information and other people's identities.

For children, there is a threat of pornography and pedophiles. Many children want to grow up too quickly and meet strangers which may lead to rape etc.

Children and adults both tend to spend too much time online. Some adults, for example and this leads to a communication breakdown and problems interacting with others (social skills).




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sumi94 | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) Honors

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.it can distract children from homework etc.

.can distract adults from office work etc

. can help parents keep track of their children

. can help children with their homework etc

. cyber bullying

. pornography

. paedophiles

. anti social behaviour

wow the list goes on :) hope it helped

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daskalos | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Salutatorian

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The advantages are wide and varied depending on your current outlook on life: research can be a huge part on internet use, knowledge storage and transfer can also be a big part of the internet, intertainment, idea sharing. Coming from a time before personal computers and the internet I think it can be great for all ages

The disadvantages are the same as for advantages.  The old adage applies, "Buyer beware".  Remember that all people have biases and that many have agendas, don't take what you see on the internet as fact. Verify, verify verify!!!!  Another old adage comes to mind by Benjamin Franklin, "Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see."

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jesschnarton | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

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As a teacher using the internet is very beneficial. I can find a plethora of material on a topic that I'll be teaching. Why reinvent the wheel when it's already there for you to use. Plus, you can tweak found material to meet the needs of the student's in your classroom. I have found many shared resources for use with my SmartBoard. As far as the student's using the internet I think it's great! There are so many programs the student's can use to further learning. Ticket to Read, VMath Live and Brain Pop are just a few websites that contribute to academic success in students at my school. Internet use can be abused and I realize it does happen, but the benefits far outway the negatives. That is why safeguards are put into place and firewalls are created to protect our student's frim harmful materials on the internet.  

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prayergal | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 1) Honors

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This is an interesting question.  One that I have had recent too close to home experience with.  My son Christopher is going to be fifteen next Friday.  One day I turned on  my lap top and opened up the recent items file.  There were these odd thumbnails that I never seen before.  So I clicked on them and  up pops nude playboy pictures of girls.  There were about ten to a dozen pictures loaded on my computer.  Of course it was my boy who had been looking at pictures and didn't think my computer had stored them.  He was caught red-handed looking at internet pornography.  So even though the internet has many wonderful educational purposes, I have to be extremely vigilant with it.  Misuse is so easy and prevalent.

Also, my ex-husband was known for logging on to chat sites and talking to girl friends with out my knowledge.  His misuse of the internet eventually led to the destruction of our home.  So although I do not look at the internet as an evil thing.  I do feel that it is like all man-made things people need to be responsible with it. 

What I find disconcerting is how easy it is to access or be involved in illicit activities and significant others can be completely unaware of it.  Now I have locks on my computer and I don't let my son surf alone anymore.  One wants to be trusting of people but the reality is that is downright foolish these days.        

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