TODAY'S QUESTION: Is constant access to the Internet hurtful or beneficial to society?

Friday, June 11, 2010 | 4:05 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — We live in a society where technology has made nearly every aspect of life easier and practically hands free. With smart phones and computers, the Internet is accessible all the time.

But perhaps it's time to warn the masses that all this time surfing the Web, texting friends and posting tweets could also be causing them to forget how to function when they’re unplugged.

A story from the New York Times warns that all this time staring at computer screens and iPhones is causing some parents to dodge their parental duties. It's not just kids who are texting at the dinner table or unable to look up from the computer screen. Adults are doing this too, and it's their kids who have to remind them that it's time to put down the gadget. This, according to the article, is causing feelings of jealousy and competition in children.

The problem isn't just neglect, the article says. Children learn from interactions with the people around them, such as developing stronger vocabularies by listening to their parents talk. This, in turn, helps children learn to read.

Is constant access to the Internet hurtful or beneficial to society? Why?

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