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Teenangels / Scrapbook / Articles / The Internet, does it help or hinder? By an UK A-Level Student

The Internet, does it help or hinder? By an UK A-Level Student

It's a minefield being a teenager doing A-Levels, the Internet can either help or hinder your progress. A-Levels are "Advanced Levels" where teens in the UK ages 16-18 study for two years and take the hardest exams ever made! It can be quite stressful fitting in work, homework, research, revision, extra reading and a social life, but does the Internet help us, or does it just clog up more of our valuable time?

A regular day in the life of an A-Level student is really quite hectic. Especially when, like myself, they chose to do five subjects (most people do three). It's nicer than lower down in education where every period, you're in a lesson, although I find, my frees are usually taken up doing work. The average student, then, when they get home will have several hours of homework to do. As you can imagine, the only real way to survive is to stop socialising with your friends as your work has to be of great importance - obviously the teachers just want the best.

So, this is when the Internet comes in. I can do my work and socialise - through Instant messenger. This gives me moral support and a release from working. It's amazing that I can talk to my friends, do work and then get them to check my work by sending the files. Obviously, I know there are dangers associated with Instant messenger services, however, being a Teenangel, I have learnt how to avoid these dangers and therefore am capable of using such services safely. This is just one of the ways the Internet can be so important for the sanity of A-level students!

However, this obviously has its downside. Countless times I have found myself at midnight happily chatting to friends when I look to see the time and realise I have a half finished piece of work due in first thing! I find chatting to friends and doing two things at once, when really I should concentrate on my work. It can be quite distracting! So although its great and in some ways, the work always has to come first.

There are however, other advantages of using the Internet when being an A-Level student, apart from the social aspect. The research facilities are amazing. You can find quotes that books would never have dreamed of putting in, do extra reading about certain tribes of pre-Islamic Arabia just so you have a been idea of what they actually did and find pictures to go with names - I now actually know what St Thomas Aquinas may look like! It's great! It ensures A grades! And it's easy and free (we're not old enough to be bill payers yet!)

However, like all amazing things to do with the Internet, there are some downsides to it and some precautions you have to take into consideration whilst researching things on the web. The first and possibly most important one is noting your sources. Students fail to understand that teachers love bibliographies, as they show you have put extra time into the work and yet they still don't note their sources for all the information and pictures they take. And it can get you into trouble, especially if the work is copyrighted, in which case, permission may even need to be sought before using some materials.

Other factors too need to be thought of. For example, there are a lot of spoof websites online. If looking for information on the Holocaust, some websites may claim it never happened. Not only can this be incredibly upsetting, but also, it's the wrong information. Time really does have to be taken to check the authenticity of a website, check the information you are gathering is relevant, true and from a trustworthy source. Obviously this takes up time. and you have to remember time is one thing A-Level students are short of.

And so, with so little time, our time to do work is limited and it keeps getting shorter and shorter so some people have found a new solution. Essay swapping! There are sites online where you can donate essays on topics done in school and in turn borrow essays from other people on a topic you're doing now! How simple and easy and effective, saves time, energy and only the best essays are put up for grabs.

Plagiarism is a big problem and is increasing constantly. The reasons for swapping essays and handing in work that isn't yours are obvious, there just isn't enough time to do everything, but the drawbacks are obvious too. Firstly, if you are caught, and it is a piece of coursework, you can be made to not sit the examinations. Secondly, it's totally unethical and wrong. If everyone did it, the same essays would circulate the whole time, everyone would get A's in class and U's in the exams. Students now are under so much pressure to get everything right that sometimes they have to cheat in order to fit it in. The fact such options are open show how the Internet really can hinder the progress of students.

In conclusion, however, A-Level students are perfect. We utilise our resources, do our work, put work before socialising, never miss deadlines, do voluntary service, stay up to date with fashion, gossip, have part time jobs and still get A's. We may seem stressed now but the Internet does provide one extra major advantage to us. it tells us about the nightlife available at University!

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