Nearly all schools are using the internet within their lessons, and encouraging students to use it for their independent learning. There’s no doubt that the internet has massively improved the education system. However, there are some disadvantages to the relatively new technological development. Like they say, every rose has its thorns, so what are the thorns of using internet in schools?
Not everything you read on the internet is entirely true
There’s a lot of information out there that students have to sift through when researching for a project, and a lot of it might be absolute nonsense. The trouble with finding information online is that literally anyone could have written the content for a website, not necessarily someone that knows what they’re talking about.
Admittedly, the majority of people who put information online make sure that the information they’re giving out is accurate, but not everyone will be so thorough. This means that students’ projects could end up riddled with false information and inaccurate statistics that could result in poor grades.
It’s also easy to mistake people’s opinions for facts, and including opinions in a fact based essay is another thing that can bring down grades.
There are currently many millions of websites out there, and a lot of those will contain information that students will access. Whilst it’s great to have a wealth of information to access, students may feel overwhelmed with so much available information, and may not know how to pick out the relevant bits of information that they need.
Exam boards also like students to be concise with their points, so an overload of information could mean that relevancy is forgotten in exam answers. Rather than expanding on certain points, students have a tendency to just write everything they know, in one long sprawl, and this isn’t helped by them taking in excessive information.
The internet can cause students to become lazy with their research
The internet is a major source of research, but students should also be gathering information and quotes from actual books. The trouble is though that after finding information so quickly through simply Googling a few keywords, students are reluctant to put more effort and time in to visit libraries and flick through the pages of books.
Viruses are a big risk
The internet holds a lot of distractions
This is one of the main disadvantages of using internet in schools, as students are already easily distracted from their studies, but with the internet offering social media sites, games, and funny viral content, there’s almost no chance of students staying completely focused.
Most schools have software that blocks distracting and irrelevant sites, but there will always be a few that slip through the net, and students will always figure out a way to find them.
So when students are working on computers, it’s unlikely that they’re using the internet solely for their education.
Plagiarism is more likely
Plagiarism is when people claim the work of other people as their own, and this is especially easy to do when using the internet.
Younger students may discover the joy of copy and pasting, and whist this may be obvious to teachers, it’s hard to control and unfair on other students who actually complete the work.
As for older students, there are many sites offering free essays, or paid-for unique essays that can be passed off as their own work. It’s also easy to plagiarise without realising it. After looking at so many different websites, you might write down a sentence or two, thinking they’re your own words, when actually it’s the exact phrasing you read on the last website.
There’s a lot of online content that isn’t suitable for young people
Most educational institutions have controls in place that block unsuitable websites, but still there’s a lot of online content that slips through that is inappropriate for young people.
There are millions of sites dedicated to gambling, pornography, graphic content, or weaponry and it’s easier than you might think for young people to stumble across these sites when searching the internet. Advertising has meant that such content can reach young people through pop ups and banner ads.
The internet can threaten students’ privacy
A lot of sites ask for personal details such as your email address in return for information, and young people may not know to be wary of giving out their information.
Most sites simply add email addresses to their email list as a marketing technique, but some sell information to other companies and partner sites, so it can be difficult to know exactly who you’re giving your details to.
Social media sites also ask for phone numbers, addresses and the likes, all of which could be dangerous for a young person to put freely on the internet.
It’s also important to remember that once your information is out there, you can’t get it back, or prevent it from being found. Students aren’t always aware of this and it could cause trouble later down the line.
The internet makes cheating a lot easier
Most mobile phones have access to the internet, and this has caused a lot of problems in tests and exams, as students have been able to sneak in phones and look up answers. The internet gives students portable unlimited knowledge, and if they manage to use it to get through tests it manipulates results and puts those that genuinely revised at a disadvantage.
It also enables students to ‘cheat’ at reading books. English lessons often involve reading a novel, but now there are sites online that summarise books in a few hundred words, rather than a few hundred pages. So fewer and fewer students are actually reading what they’re supposed to.
So there’s a fair few disadvantages to using the internet in schools. There are of course ways around them though, like software to block inappropriate content, and lessons to teach young people how to responsibly and fairly use the internet. As long as internet usage is controlled somewhat in schools, the disadvantages shouldn’t cause too much of an issue, but whether or not they outweigh the advantages is for you to decide.