The chal­lenge is to teach chil­dren dis­ci­pline in us­ing IT

Sunday Tribune - - WORLD - ANIL K RAJVANSHI | IANS

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.

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