From the age of two, I would sit in my little red chair at nursery, eyes fixated on a boxy computer screen in the hope of getting the little white arrow into the ring of colour. Now, aged 16, here I am, a Word document on one side of the screen and TV on the […]

From the age of two, I would sit in my little red chair at nursery, eyes fixated on a boxy computer screen in the hope of getting the little white arrow into the ring of colour. Now, aged 16, here I am, a Word document on one side of the screen and TV on the other. I have my own laptop, along with my own smartphone, which without the Internet I feel is utterly useless.

Growing up with the Internet has influenced my attitude to school work. I no longer need to write my homework down on a piece of paper or in my diary, because it’s stored on showmyhomework.com. Teachers add homework and attachments from the lesson, so pen and paper notes are useless. This hasn’t completely changed the way I do my homework, as I still put time and effort into every piece I hand in, but it’s made excuses a lot easier. A well-known trick is to claim the website was not working, not showing your homework, and there you go. I do not recommend this attitude however, as it can catch up on you.

But on the upside for education, I can go online and type in anything I want to know. I mean, who doesn’t want to know the answers to the world’s stupidest questions, like, ‘Do dogs blink?’ I can even read a full 500-page essay on the function of blinking in dogs. I can also look into topics that I have a passion for.

But I can’t help but feel the interests I’m exposed to on the Internet are in fact my friends’. My timeline is covered in what they like and what they have been up to, making me feel as though I should be doing the same as them. In turn, though, this makes me more world-aware. Previously I wouldn’t have been interested in world news, but now it’s on Facebook, all in one place, meaning I don’t even have to change websites to find out what’s happening.

A question I ask myself a lot is, ‘Why do I post my life on the Internet?’ There’s a simple answer -social desirability. If you aren’t hooked up to the most recent social media, you’re not in the loop. Walking through the school corridors, you hear people discussing what they saw on their timeline or how annoying someone’s posts are.

I have 410 friends. 410 people I supposedly know. In reality, I only know around 100 of them. So why do I still keep posting status updates? Because of those 410 people, some of them will read my status update. I feel as though I have to post because 410 people are expecting me to post.

My main fear is, ‘What if the Internet removes the need for pen, paper and books?’ When online I’m not reading for leisure, I’m reading to navigate myself through the Internet. When I pick up a bulky book, that’s me reading for pleasure. Books trigger a young child’s language, learning through pictures and words they don’t yet understand. I would hate to see the day when they’re no longer given a book to read, but a website. That just isn’t reading – it’s browsing.

Mia Wilson