When we talk about social media, technology that drives it can’t be missed out in the mentions. And when we talk about technology, the impact and influence on the younger generation can’t be missed out on.
Call them Gen X or Gen Y, our children are the ones who will inherit what we invent today. The social channels, the technology, the infrastructure, everything will be at their disposal to use. What we have to make sure as the inventors that it is not misused.
Children today are smart, perhaps smarter than us when we were that age. We were used to playing outdoors, getting our clothes dirty and knees bruised. They may not be doing exactly the same today, but they sure are much more adept at using a smart phone, perhaps more than us who invented it. So how do we make sure that when they do interface with these devices, children learn something instead of being adversely affected by the devices that have become an inseparable part of our lives?
With this question at the heart of the discussion, Intel and Educomp organized the Tech For Toddlers event this past weekend. I’ll be honest, I had to look up on the internet to learn a bit more about Dr. Bindu Rana and her work in education research. So when she started speaking at the event, one tends to listen. “Technology is an enabler for the child. Parents should not restrict its use, just the misuse. The first sense that a child uses to learn is the sense of touch and devices are only helping. The action used to zoom into a picture on the screen is the same with which to hold a pencil in hand,” she said.
I had never thought on these lines before, but now that the idea has found its way to my thoughts, the more I think about it, the more I realize its validity. Not only is the modern technology an enabler for learning, it is the one point which can enhance learning by experiencing rather than learning by rote which we all did in school. But how does one control the flow of information so that the child has access to all the right information and is shielded from the imminent ill effects of the information age?
Give them access to the devices, but make sure the access is supervised. Make sure, instead of games and music, the devices have more educational material for the children as their usage of the device will have a greater impact on them compared to an adult. Make sure access to the devices is not allowed in the bedroom or at the dining table. These are some of the easiest to ignore pointers but leave a lasting impact on how the modern computing devices can make or break the future generation. And as parents and guardians, we are the ones who have a lot to learn before we call it a day.