Sunday, April 12, 2009
Cybersafety - Engaging in Inappropriate and Harmful Information on the Worldwide Web
As we move toward the future, the gap is getting much larger between adults and their children when it comes to internet usage. Several adults are getting more familiar with computer and internet use but many can barely use the electronic device to type a simple letter. Children on the other hand are becoming more accustomed to using technology for everything they do in their day to day life. Mobile phones, Social networks, and email are all being used as not only communicating devices but ways to obtain knowledge. Books are becoming a thing of the past and the internet is putting everything and anything at the hands of young adults. While we enter into this new phase of technology I get increasingly concerned as to how parents, schools, and the community will be able to help children understand the risks of internet use. My main concern is getting young adults to understand what false information on the web is and using educated choices to decide what they will use the internet for.
From working in Athletics I have heard of numerous instances where young adults have gathered information and even bought products such as creatine online. Creatine is an ergogenic drug that individuals use to improve appearance and athletic abilities. This drug has a history of use in professional athletes but in recent years has begun to expand into young adults, sometimes as young as middle school age children. This drug is marketed as being a nutritional supplement which makes most people think it is virtually harmless. Creatine does offer gains in body strength but it can also put many organs in the body at risk. In addition, there is very little research as to how this drug affects the human body of young adults.
There have been multiple cases of middle or high school student athletes that have died from this drug use. Many times the parents have no idea their child was engaging in drug or supplement use. Ergogenic drug use in young adults is a major concern and attention should be placed on this issue. These issues and sometimes tragic events can be prevented by parents, teachers, and coaches educating young adults on the proper use of the internet and providing the students an understanding of the information available to them on the worldwide web.
This subject has had very little debate other than the attention given to families that have lost their loved ones. These parents have tried to bring attention to how accessible these drugs can be through the internet but little notice has been taken.
Internet safety cannot be accomplished by trying to prevent children from technology. At some point children will gain access. The issue of Creatine as well as other unsafe internet practices can only be prevented by involving everyone that is present in a young adult’s day to day life. This includes parents, teachers, coaches, athletic trainers, school nurses, community groups, and even family physicians. If any of these stakeholders do not understand the internet or know how to use it, they need to learn fast. These services should be available through the community or the school system. Technology can be overwhelming at times but not having an understanding of what children engage in will only continue to put them at harm.
With a click of a button a young adult can make this purchase: