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The Role of Computers in Family Life

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The Role of Computers in Family Life


In this paper I will be explaining how computers play both a positive and negative role in the family life. Along with how much computers have changed the “Family Life”. I will explain how computers open the doors to endless access to the world. All this freedom however comes with a price. One must realize that you will be losing security with every new site signed up for or every purchase made on-line. Not to mention all the other problems that come along with having a computer. You must be ready and aware of the risks so you can be prepared when you hook-up your computer.

Right now you can practically do everything you need to do right from your own computer. There are so many tools to work with and things you are capable of doing. You can virtually talk to anyone anywhere at anytime if they have the proper hook-ups. This also includes the newly on-line dating services that has pro’s and con’s of its own. Another plus for computers is instead of the children being glued to the TV for hours, they are now being productive on the computer. They are doing things that force their minds to keep thinking and not just zoning out. The introduction of computers to the family life also helps families come together and spend more quality family time together. The list can go on, but with all these opportunities we have, we also lose a lot. We lose privacy and security. There are also some greater drawbacks when in comes to the net, like Internet related crimes and identity theft.

When you think of computers, what do you think about? Conducting business at work or writing assignments at school maybe. There is so much more to do with computers. I don't even know the half of them, but a computer at home can make things a whole lot calmer. First off, you can do all your bills on line. You can check on balances, or check when the payments were received. Also check your savings/checking accounts. This is a great feature because you get away from talking to machines and being put on hold. No more driving out in the cold or in traffic to see if you have enough money to cover your checks. All these things you can do from the convenience of your own home.

There are all types of stores that let you purchase items that they will ship to you. This is convenient for the stay at home mothers who have hellions for children. Now you don't have to bring your kids out grocery shopping or clothes shopping, which we all know they love. No worries about long lines at the checkout line or parking a mile away. You can do all this from home. This can also give parents more time to spend with their children. You can also find out how the weather is going to be. If you are planning a trip or a picnic all you have to do is search on line and up pops the weather. No more waiting till eleven o’clock just to see the weather.

Another great attribute about the Internet is your access to medical/heath databases that has symptoms and diseases information. If you have a major concern you should always seek medical attention, but for minor things this is great. You can lookup diseases that may run in your family so you know what to look for or if you are worried about diabetes. They can also explain what you can expect. All of which is free. If you are embarrassed to ask the doctor something, you don't have to because there is a virtual doctor on line.

The Internet has so many things you can do or look up with endless information. You can access so many libraries and search engines to help you and your kids in schoolwork or for leisure. There are dozens of site that specializes in that field. They are real easy to use. This is so much easier than actually gong to a library and searching for the books yourself and much mire convenient. Now you can look up anything from your own computer. This can also be a bad thing, which I will explain later.

The computer has also introduced a whole new way of communicating. It used to cost a fortune to call over seas and could take a while to get connected. Now you can talk to anyone in England in a shorter period of time if they are hooked-up as well. The Internet can get you connected with anyone around the world. There are no busy signals except when the Internet is down, but how often does that happen. This is also a great way to meet people. This could help out lonely people that have lost someone or who are out of the dating loop. This way it can help them get over their nervousness and start looking again and bring them out of their shell. There are countless dating services on-line and the users can be confident that these people they may meet are really who they say there are.

Along with being able to contact anyone that is hooked-up to the Internet, you can also contact any business. You can send them an e-mail, or get information off their website to contact them some other way. On some sites there might even be an on-line help operator to further assist you. This again is really convenient for the busy households that don't have a lot of extra time to pursue these companies. You can basically contact any person and any business from your computer.

In the past TV's had control over the young people, but computers are taking over. When kids are watching TV they are almost comatose. With computers they are interacting with it and their minds are always thinking. Especially in the wintertime, when TV does not have the cure for boredom, in comes the computer. Like Sandy Berger writes in an article she called "Winter Hobbies", "on the internet I found hundreds of hobbies to choose from. With everything from amateur radio to zymurgy (brewing), there is sure to be hobbies for everyone*. Like Sandy aid there are so many games, activities, hobbies that are not only for kids, but for adults too. This helps everyone get involved and expand their minds. With everything we can look up so can our kids, so there are parental controls to keep them out of places they should not be. This should give the parents some confidence that they will not be seeing things that they shouldn't.

When children are young, quality family time is very important. As they grow it may become harder and harder to connect with them. Computer can help families get closer together. There are a lot of games, learning activities and places to explore on the computer with your kids. In1996, Lexmark International conducted a survey of one thousand PC owning homes that indicated that "seventy four percent of families agree that the computer facilities keeping in touch with other family members"#. This not only gets your children involved but also yourself.

Computers open up the world so big there are virtually no boundaries. They have changed so many lives and created many opportunities. All this comes with a price. With so much to do, buy, sell, or explore, your personal information is scattered all over the net. Identity theft is a major concern and it is only getting worse. In a survey from NPR on-line it states that 59% of Internet users are afraid that unauthorized persons can get there hands on their financial records or private information^. This is a big problem. Identity theft is easy because they steal your information off line and pretend they are you from the privacy of there own home. People need to be more careful of who they give their information to.

Another major concern is kids getting into places they should not be. Another survey says that “85% worry about strangers contacting their children, and 84% say the accessibility to porn is a major problem”^. This is obviously a problem because you and I know what sites we can get into and that means anyone can too. Then again there are programs to shield kids from these sites. Another concern is viruses. They can be injected into your computer by downloading things. So do not download anything you do not know who it is from. There are many programs that detect viruses and gets ride of them before they can do any damage. Viruses can fry your memory and motherboard. With some Microsoft programs there is a flaw that causes a huge security hole in your system. From a recently released letter, they say that a computer with this problem can be injected with a virus just from being online@. This is a huge problem. You take all the precautions against protecting your computers from a virus and you can get one from just being on line.

With all these day to day activities you can do from home this can present quite a problem. People will be less motivated to leave the house. This could then turn into depression. There are also people who get dependent on the Internet. There is a website call Net Addiction where people with this so called "mental disorder" can seek help. Who knew that computers could have such an effect on people? Then there are the Internet related crimes, mostly all incidences with horrible endings. People meeting on line having an Internet relationship and someone wants more. Then they finally go to meet and this person is not who they said they are. Be careful with who you talk to on-line. If you are lucky you will survive. This is a scary thing that is happening all over the world. People must protect themselves and their children from the predators that prey on innocent, trusting people. If you are not careful you may get suck into the deadly web of the computer.

Overall the next big technologic advance, after the computer, will be living on the moon or even mars. But until then computers will keep changing and we will have to with them. Computers bring a vast array of wonderful things we can do right from our computer at home. With computers you must give up a little to gain a little. Without computers more than half of the world would be lost. Computers are a great thing, but we must take caution in what exercises we are doing while on line. Computers will be changing in was we can’t image. We must also take a reactive approach and intertwine our lifestyles around the computer and its many wonders.



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