The Instigator
austinyb
Pro (for)
Losing
10 Points
The Contender
bluesteel
Con (against)
Winning
25 Points

Teenagers Should Have Unlimited Access to Computers and The Internet

Do you like this debate?NoYes+2
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Vote Here
Pro Tied Con
Who did you agree with before the debate?
Who did you agree with after the debate?
Who had better conduct?
Who had better spelling and grammar?
Who made more convincing arguments?
Who used the most reliable sources?
Reasons for your voting decision
1,000 Characters Remaining
The voting period for this debate does not end.
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/9/2010 Category: Technology
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 17,334 times Debate No: 13325
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (34)
Votes (7)

 

austinyb

Pro

My view is that teenagers (13+) should have unlimited, but monitored access to the internet. By monitored, I mean that parents can view activity for anything dangerous/illegal, but beside from that, they are allowed to freely browse.

I will let my opponent begin the debate.
bluesteel

Con

Definitions:

Unlimited (from Random House Dictionary): unrestricted, without any qualification or exception; unconditional [1]

I negate by showing that teenagers should have access to computers/internet, but parents should have the right to place limits, conditions, and restrictions on that access.

Types of limits:

1. Time

Teenagers need to learn good time management skills, and parents can help teach them these skills by requiring that certain time periods be designated "homework time" and certain time periods be designated "free time." Otherwise, teenagers develop something called "continuous partial attention," which is a habit whereby someone does work, while also performing other tasks (such as online chat or social networking), without ever devoting their full attention to either task. [2] This is a terrible habit to develop, and it causes work quality to greatly suffer.

In addition, there are physical worries in regards to too much computer use, such as carpel tunnel, eye problems, and even death (a girl died due to dehydration in China playing World of Warcraft for 48 hours straight). Parents should be able to enforce time limits to teach children moderation.

2. Content

Parents should have the right to prevent their teenagers (13+) from viewing pornography, for example. They should be allowed to install content filtering programs on their children's computers. They should be allowed to restrict certain websites (like Facebook) during homework time. And parents should have the right to prevent children from downloading music and movies illegally, since the parents are the ones who would be liable in any lawsuit filed by the RIAA or MPAA.

3. Conditions

Parents should have the right to restrict computer use as a punishment/incentive. If a parent threatened "take out the garbage or no video games for a week," and you affirm the resolution, parents would lose all their authority because children would be guaranteed unlimited computer access by law. If children are given unlimited computer access, disciplinary issues could arise. Being sent to your room certainly isn't as bad if you're given unlimited computer access during the punishment.

4. Child molesters

Parents should have the right to ensure that children are not sharing too much personal information online, such as their home address. Molesters often use Myspace or Facebook to find an attractive victim and then use personal information the child has shared, such as a home address, to track the child down. [3]

[1] http://dictionary.reference.com...

[2] http://www.businessweek.com...

[3] http://childsafetips.abouttips.com...
Debate Round No. 1
austinyb

Pro

As I stated in Round One, the child will have had previous instruction in good habits on the internet from their parents, as limits could be placed pre-age-13. The parents will be able to teach the child internet safety and time management such that when the parents decide they are mature enough to venture out on the internet on their own, they will understand enough to not deal with potentially dangerous sites or people.

In my argument, I stated that the children would have unrestricted access to the internet, however, if the parent believes that they are not getting important things done such as homework, they can make sure the child will get their homework done before using the computer, and that will not interfere with my "unlimited access" argument.

Being a teenager myself, I understand the possible side effects of having unrestricted access to the internet, like as you stated, not being able to concentrate, but in the past, I have still been able to complete any school assignments and sustain straight A's in all of my classes.

As with social networking sites, the child will be assumed to have knowledge of how to use the internet safely. The child will have been taught not to share any personal information and use proper privacy settings. Filtering sites "during homework time" won't be necessary as the parent could see that the homework gets done prior to access to the computer.

Accessing pornography will not be affected, as state laws will still require a person to be over a certain age to be able to view such material.

Finally, When I say "unlimited", I mean unlimited access to the internet while they are using a computer or other internet-enabled device. Parents will still have the authority to punish a child by not letting them use a computer, and/or force them to get off a computer unconditionally. However, when they are using a computer or internet-enabled device, they will not be restricted on content accessible.
bluesteel

Con

Responding to my opponent's recent round:

My opponent says: "As I stated in Round One, the child will have had previous instruction in good habits on the internet from their parents"

This was not stated in round 1. However, my response is that you cannot assume that all children will have been taught perfect time management skills, how to use moderation, and how to avoid sharing too much personal information by age 13. Age 14 is when most students enter high school, when the workload increases to the point where they are forced to learn good time management (called a "teachable moment"). There may not have been enough teachable moments by age 13 for all children to learn all the necessary skills.

Secondly, it is a well-established fact that kids (especially teenagers) do not always do what their parents tell them. They often need constant reminders/reinforcement and don't learn things the first time they are told.

My opponent says: "if the parent believes that they are not getting important things done such as homework, they can make sure the child will get their homework done before using the computer." This is a form of restriction, specifically the restriction that "you may not use the computer until your homework is done." Finishing homework is a "condition" that must be fulfilled before computer access is allowed. I refer everyone back to my definition, that "unlimited" means "unconditional," i.e. lacking any conditions on use.

My opponent points out that he is a teenager with straight A's. However, he has yet to prove in this round that his parents placed absolutely no restrictions on his internet use. Even if my opponent could prove this, his argument is still a logical fallacy: generalizing from too small a sample size. Just because one person has unlimited internet access and straight A's doesn't mean every person is the world can do the same.

My opponent claims that "the child will be assumed to have knowledge of how to use the internet safely." However, children do not use the internet responsibly now. "In a 2006 survey conducted by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and Cox Communications, fourteen percent (14%) of children have actually met face-to-face with a person the child had known only online." [1]

My opponent claims that children cannot access pornography because of state laws requiring that they be 18. However, most pornography websites use an honor system that has two links: "click this link to enter (18 and above)" and "click this link to leave (under 18)." Children quickly figure out that they can simply click the "I'm over 18" link in order to access pornography. The honor system doesn't work.

My opponent's last argument comes once again from his ignoring my definition. Unlimited means unconditional, lacking any and all restrictions. This would include punishments.

[1] http://www.dshs.state.tx.us...
Debate Round No. 2
austinyb

Pro

If this took effect, parents would understand that the years pre-age-13 would be the time for them to learn good computer habits. Currently, parents do not enforce correct internet usage because they restrict it as a whole. If it was unlimited, parents would know that they should teach their children how to use the internet safely, which would result in a better understanding of the internet, unlike many children who spend their days trolling the internet and/or putting themselves in danger without understanding the consequences.

My opponent says: "...it is a well-established fact that kids (especially teenagers) do not always do what their parents tell them." I agree with this argument, however, I believe that the less restrictions that are put on children, the more cooperative they become. If a parent is loose and lets their children do things on their own, they will 1) become more independent, and 2) have the children become more cooperative, because they are not actively being restricted. If limitations are constantly being placed on a child, a child will learn to dislike the aforementioned restrictions. But if few limitations are being placed, the child will be more willing to abide when one comes along.

Perhaps I made a mistake when I began this debate. I meant to say that children should have unlimited use of the INTERNET. By unlimited, I mean that there are no restrictions placed on the activities they take on when browsing the internet. If parents feel the need to restrict usage of the computer, they can, but when the child is using computer, they can have unlimited access to the internet and the content on it.

I understand that a child can click "I'm over 18", and enter a pornographic site, but the child will be breaking a law. This is no different from saying that if there is a law for stealing, then I can walk into a store and take a computer without paying for it. The former law is much easier to break, but it is still a law that is being broken.

My opponent repeatedly states that the definition of unlimited is "unconditional, lacking any and all restrictions". However, people have different opinions about what something can mean, and in my mind, the meaning can be altered to fit a point of view.

My point of view, as I've stated a few times before, is that access of the INTERNET should be unlimited, which means that children are free to view whatever content they would like and partake in any activities that are legal when they are browsing, but parents still have the final call over how they use the computer. However, please keep in mind that a mature child will understand his/her responsibilities and know when it is time to get off. They won't spend all night browsing. They will understand limits.
bluesteel

Con

Responding to my opponent's recent round:

He says that a new law giving teenagers unlimited computer/internet access would cause parents to change their approach. If this were true, it should have already happened. I'm assuming 100% of parents know that there are child molesters out there and 100% don't want their children molested. Yet still 14% of children decide to physically meet with a "stranger" who they met online. Children make bad decisions and need to be monitored. Having one chat with a child is not enough for lasting change.

My opponent points out that being overly restrictive as a parent is bad. This, however, does not prove that parents should impose NO restrictions at all on their children. In addition, each parent should decide how restrictive they want to be, knowing full well that their teenager might resent them if they impose too many restrictions on them. The government does not have the right to legislate and micro-manage parenting decisions.

My opponent says: "Perhaps I made a mistake when I began this debate." I agree that he likely did make a mistake when drafting the topic. However, the instigator should not have the right to change the topic halfway through the debate. My opponent is stuck with the topic he originally drafted, which states that teenagers should have NO restrictions on their internet/computer use.

Pornography:

One form of "limit" is a type of computer software that blocks certain sites, like known porn sites (such as "dot xxx" sites) and chat rooms known to be frequented by sex offenders. Unlimited access would ban parents from installing such "parental control" software on their child's computer.

My opponent says: "meaning can be altered to fit a point of view." The only way to have predictable debates is to use a dictionary to find the most common usage for a word. Two people cannot debate each other if they are both relying on subjective definitions of what the topic means to them. I provided a dictionary definition of "unlimited."

My opponent does not answer my most important argument: parents should have the right to ban children from illegally downloading on the internet, because if the RIAA (music industry) or MPAA (movie industry) catches the child, they will be suing the parents (not the child) and will go after the parents' money (not the child's meager piggy bank).

My other key argument is that parents should have the right to say "no computer games or Facebook until you finish your homework." Unlimited computer/internet access would not allow such a restriction to be placed upon children. Children will thus not learn good time management skills.
Debate Round No. 3
austinyb

Pro

I agree that absolutely no restrictions on children is bad, but as I've mentioned before, the limits won't be removed from the children until they reach the age of 13. Before this time, the parent will make sure the child realizes that there are many bad people out there, and they should be careful. My opponent says that "children make bad decisions and need to be monitored." This is true, however, the child would make better decisions if they were exposed to the internet more and saw how some people make bad decisions (such as trolling) and how the community treats them. And please keep in mind that these are teenagers who are expected to be mature. These are not just "children" who are still in elementary school. These are teenagers that are about to go into high school.

There's no doubt the internet will increase your maturity level. I consider myself to be very knowledgeable for my age. This is likely a result of my exposure to the internet, an unlimited source of information. That being said, I understand different teenagers might function in different ways, and that the internet might not help them as it did with me.

My opponent states that "unlimited access would ban parents from installing ... 'parental control' software on their child's computer." If a child is responsible, such software should not be necessary.

As with downloading illegal material, the child should understand that committing such act is, in fact, a crime. I agree that children should not be partaking in this act, however, just because a child is doing it, it doesn't make it right for an adult to do it. You are referring to children as if they were different, but please keep in mind that adults are just as capable of doing so, and it is not any less illegal for a child to do so. I understand that an adult would be responsible for their own actions, and a child's parent would be responsible for the child's actions, but either way, it is an act of crime and is the same as going to a store and stealing a disc, and shouldn't be done in the first place.

A responsible child will understand their duties to do homework. Plus, there's only so much a person can do on the internet. A child will likely only use a few sites, and will get bored after a while. There's always time to do homework, and a responsible child will get it done in time sooner or later. Letting a child do homework whenever they feel like it will actually increase productivity, by cutting down on procrastination.

Our world is changing. We are in the information age. In the future, the world will be centered around technology even more so than it is today. In the future, technological ability will be what really matters. Children need to be exposed to this technology so they will be able to achieve greater things when they get older. We need to help the next generation be tech-savvy because technology is what the future will hold.
bluesteel

Con

Responding to my opponent's recent round:

My opponent says: "I agree that absolutely no restrictions on children is bad." I consider this effectively conceding the round since "unlimited" means no restrictions.

My opponent keeps arguing that children of 13 are responsible enough to make all of their own decisions, even though 14% of them still decide to physically meet with strangers they met online. In addition, if children are responsible enough at 13 to make all their own decisions (without their parents), why not make the drinking age 13, the smoking age 13, and allow 13 year olds to decide whether or not they want to continue attending school (instead of making it mandatory)? Why not let 13 year olds decide to join the military and why not let 13 year olds decide to get married (without parental approval)? Why not make the age of (sexual) consent 13? Society obviously acknowledges that 13 year olds are not old enough to make all of the right decisions, without parental oversight.

My opponent claims the internet increases maturity level. His only evidence is himself. Many teenagers actually use the internet in immature ways: to Photoshop and post obscene photos, to make "gay" jokes with their friends, to bully other children, etc. His experience cannot be generalized to everyone.

My opponent points out that adults can also choose to download illegally. However, if an adult downloads illegal content, the adult is liable if sued. If a child downloads illegally, the parents are liable if sued. Because the child's actions (illegally downloading a movie/music) could hurt the parents (a lawsuit costing millions of dollars), the parents should have a right to limit the child's internet use in this regard.

My opponent claims: "Letting a child do homework whenever they feel like it will actually increase productivity, by cutting down on procrastination." Actually, in my personal experience working with high school students, students who are allowed unlimited access to Facebook are the ones who are most likely to turn their assignments in late and to procrastinate until the last minute. Teenagers need their parents to help them learn time management skills. My opponent claims that teenagers will get bored with the internet, but I've seen high schoolers spend 8 hours straight on Facebook without getting bored. Parents need the right to say: "do your homework first."

My opponent says that children need to learn technology. I agree. But in moderation, allowing parents to set reasonable limitations on their internet/computer use. Taking all authority over computers/internet away from parents and giving it to teenagers is like letting the mental patients run the asylum.

Reject my opponent's tyrannical attempt to usurp parental authority. Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 4
34 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Elmakai 3 years ago
Elmakai
I think I would rarely give every point to one person, but this one is an example of that.

I obviously don't agree that teenagers should have unlimited access to the internet.

As far as conduct, Pro started to change the definition of "unlimited" halfway through the debate.

There were a few times Con had run-on sentences, unnecessary commas, etc.

As far as more convincing arguments, I had a hard time believing that any 13 year old would make proper decisions for the rest of his teenager years when it came to internet usage. We have 60 year olds that don't, and get involved in a cyber-crime of some sort or another.

And the only source Pro gave was personal experience. Not a single link to another source.
Posted by lovelife 3 years ago
lovelife
Roy, I don't think you understood. I understood your sarcasm but decided to respond as well. I really hope you don't think I was serious....
Posted by RoyLatham 3 years ago
RoyLatham
lovelife, "I am [open to alternative lifestyles], but how many parents want that? Its about as creepy as someone breastfeeding her 8 year old son. And I don't want pedos near me, so the sooner you get them out of your house, the better."

<sarcasm explained>My point was that despite the political correctness of being open, you do not have to be open to *all* alternative lifestyles. Sometimes being judgmental is correct.
Posted by bluesteel 3 years ago
bluesteel
Geez KodyHarris, spend a little less time vote bombing all my debates and a little more time writing your pro case for our "homosexuality is wrong" debate. I'd prefer that you not forfeit your upcoming round - I was looking forward to that debate.
Posted by lovelife 3 years ago
lovelife
Also if they wanted to play online rather than do their stuff I would set up a system where they had to buy internet time from me, $5 a week, and the GPA for that week determines how much they make. They make $1 more than their overall GPA for that week, and in today's age where all you have to do is go on a certain website to look at the grades, missing assignments etc, it really isn't that hard, and isn't really open for fraud.
Posted by austinyb 3 years ago
austinyb
In round four, I stated that "I understand different teenagers might function in different ways, and that the internet might not help them as it did with me."

In addition, video games != internet. With video games, there's limited benefits you can take from playing all day. However, the internet is basically a database of information, and you can get a lot more out of spending your days browsing the internet than from playing video games.
Posted by bluesteel 3 years ago
bluesteel
b) should be *high school* not college
Posted by bluesteel 3 years ago
bluesteel
I don't think either of you get that "it depends on the person." You both ignore my personal story of my high school friend who had unlimited video game time and chose to play video games instead of doing his homework. He failed out of college and now lives off his parents' dime. There are two paths to this end:

a) you are so rebellious that after rules are removed (college) you decide homework is no longer important and quit doing it
b) you learn that homework is not important at all (because your parents never ask you to do it), spend all your time playing video games, and learn no functional skills by the time you graduate college (with an attention span for work of approximately 5 minutes)

I assert that if either of you were the parent of a 14 year old child who didn't want to do his homework and wanted to play computer games all day, you wouldn't say to him "sure Hun, play as long as you want," hoping he would tire of video games and choose to do his homework at some point. And if that is exactly what you'd do, you would make horrible parents.
Posted by austinyb 3 years ago
austinyb
@bluesteel

Any other current laws would override "unlimited internet usage". Obviously, a child would need to go to school, and that would be highest priority.
Posted by lovelife 3 years ago
lovelife
Also the reason they played that long, adults and teens alike, are because they never had to learn time management, it was always handed to them, they were walked through and had no idea how to cope when responsibility came their way.
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by Elmakai 3 years ago
Elmakai
austinybbluesteelTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by Kn1ght 3 years ago
Kn1ght
austinybbluesteelTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by KodyHarris 3 years ago
KodyHarris
austinybbluesteelTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by Lamza61 3 years ago
Lamza61
austinybbluesteelTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:05 
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 3 years ago
RoyLatham
austinybbluesteelTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by Koopin 3 years ago
Koopin
austinybbluesteelTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:05 
Vote Placed by lovelife 3 years ago
lovelife
austinybbluesteelTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:32