The Web: The Way Kids REALLY Do Their Homework [Teen Article]

Sofia is a 16-year-old from Los Angeles, CA. She loves the beach, shopping, and enjoys studying psychology because she would like to become a psychologist when she is older.

Students working on class assignment in computer lab by Extra Ketchup.

As cliché as it sounds, times have changed. We live in a world where the internet holds the key to the millions of questions we need answered; and when we need answers, the web gives it to us in a matter of seconds. So how has this changed the way that kids today do homework? Sure, parents know most of the sites: Sparknotes, Cliffnotes, no fear Shakespeare, collegeboard.com, but what they do not know is how kids use them.

Now I’m not going to sit here and lie and say that I haven’t ever used Sparknotes or Cliffnotes to finish a book. I’m not admitting its right either. Parents, you must try to understand that once your kid reaches high school, not only do you have an increasingly larger load of homework than you once did in middle school, there may be days where three or four tests are held, sometimes one after the other. If your child is struggling to keep up with assignments, with their AP teachers driving them up the wall with tests and projects, there is no harm in checking Sparknotes or Cliffnotes to make sure they are keeping up with the rest of the class. Now I’ve heard many parents say that these sites are never used by advanced placement students, but the big secret is: practically all of them do! However, do not let your kid think that this is the easy way out every time they do not want to finish their reading books for school, it should only be used for emergencies (such as having a swamped homework night or forgetting the assignment altogether). The more your child depends on it, the more lazy they will become.

There is not a single student I know at my school that does not own at least one computer in their household, and if a child does not, schools often provide computers as do local libraries. What does this mean? This means that every child in the United States has access to a computer somewhere which means they have access to the book summaries and SAT practice and help. This can be viewed as either beneficial or damaging.

College Board (www.collegeboard.com) is an excelled source that aids kids in mastering the concept of the SAT and ACT tests which plays a very dominant role in the acceptance in a desired college. If kids use these online tools correctly, their chances of scoring high on those tests increases. Kids today definitely have life much easier than their parents did 40 or 50 years ago when these sites did not exist; kids then had to actually read the books they were assigned to read and figure out all those little tricks to the SAT and ACT on their own.

Though, Sparknotes (www.sparknotes.com) and Cliffnotes (www.cliffnotes.com) are great, they are more than often abused. As mentioned before, students tend to rely too much on the 3 paragraph summaries in replacement of a 15 or 20 page chapter. Granted, it makes life easier and allows more time to be spent on Facebook or Myspace, it will not help you pass the final test in the long run. Even though it sounds boring and pointless, actually reading the book has its advantages; you impress your teacher, grades will improve, and you feel better all around after finishing a book that you remember reading and discussing.

So all in all, the internet has changed the way that kids will do their homework forever. Kids today have the benefit of turning a 500 page book into a 12 page summary. The internet gives kids of all ages a freebee and allows them to slack off sometimes. However, there are plenty of kids who use the sites in moderation and as a last resort. The kids who use these sites in a beneficial way will most likely succeed more often than those who are entirely dependent on Sparknotes or Cliffnotes.

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