The challenge is to teach children discipline in using IT
THERE is a general refrain from parents that their children are spending too much time on their smartphones. and being exposed to bad influences on the internet.
If you ask the children, they say the internet allowd them to be in touch with their friends, and that they feel they know much more about the world than their parents.
Who is right? I think both the parents and the children are partially right.
Technology allows instant gratification and is thus addictive. This fritters away their time and energy, and they are unable to focus on work at hand.
Instant gratification fuels the greed impulse, and with no discipline to control this, it is the genesis of the greed exhibited in adulthood.
This is not an isolated incident. Quite a number of school children all over the country indulge in such behaviour. How to curb this greed tendency in children is a great challenge for both parents and teachers.
Too often, parents give their children smartphones and ipads or deposit them in front of a TV when they are toddlers. Part of the reason is that by giving such “toys”, parents feel the child will not bother them since he/ she will be entertained and immersed in playing with the device. But, by exposing the children to such tools at a very early age the parents are playing with fire since there is no mechanism to provide discipline in their use.
Meenakshi Satpute (name changed) is a school teacher in a town in Maharashtra. Her house was burgled and her smartphone, camera and ipad stolen.
The needle of suspicion pointed to a young boy living nearby. When he was taken to the police and questioned, he said most students in class stole such gadgets as a part of play and to show off who had stolen the best gadget. It was a game, and they also sold the stolen goods to get money.
This does not mean that we should not expose children to modern technology. Without being exposed to it, a child’s imagination won’t be fired up.
Great feats of science and technology have resulted from people who, as children, were inspired by some aspect of gadgets and technology.
Albert Einstein as a child was inspired by the magnetic compass. However, the old technologies were not very interactive and so the child had to use tremendous imagination thinking about it and what could or would be.
With today’s “toys” like the internet and smartphones, which provide instant information and feedback, the result is that curiosity and the desire to think deeply about a problem is lost.
This is the reason children today do not apply themselves too much to solving problems or creating new inventions, but have a tremendous amount of information at hand.
With interactive technologies, children seem to be losing the ability to daydream, which is a powerful mechanism for the development of imagination and helps in sharpen the brain.
The biggest challenge for parents and teachers today is to teach children discipline when using technology.