Societies that do not cater for children are almost certain to encounter challenges for sustained growth and development. After all, there is no truer saying than that children are the future of tomorrow.
Children born before and after the second world war, until millennials, have had considerable issues adapting to technology- examples are majority of our parents. Millennials, born during the fifth generation of computers have found that journey a bit easier, but that’s not without certain difficulties, especially in technologically deprived societies like Africa.
There are children born into the era of the internet and smart devices- they are known as “digital residents.” and are expected to take to technology rather than having to adapt. On social media spaces, people often refer to these set of people as Zoomers or Gen Z and Gen Alpha. Zoomers or Gen Z are people born between 1995 and 2010 while Gen Alpha are children born between 2010 and 2025, this article particularly addresses parents of Gen Alpha children.
As a parent, tech savvy or not, it is your duty to ensure that your child does not fall into the category of digital residents that will have to adapt to technology on the long run. The nature of education and jobs is changing, it’s even at a faster pace now thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Introducing children to technology at an early stage should be considered a vital aspect of parenting. Parenting, of course, is a science and an art, because it is systematic and controlled. Just like weaning a child, introducing them to technology requires some level of control as well. That control includes choosing the right gadgets and allocating time for these interactions to take place.
The idea behind controlled-early-introduction of technology to children is to prevent a technological gap from forming. When this gap forms, there are several psychological problems that come with it. My Dad operated a computer school one time, he had this student, should be in his late twenties at the time. I used to double up as an assistant tutor and secretary to my dad, so I was opportune to take the students on practical classes. I was teaching the students how to control a mouse until I noticed a particular student that was sweating, probably even tearing, and perplexed like he’s just been given an exam that’d see him lose his life if he doesn’t pass. The exercise was just about moving the mouse and closing windows, but the psychological barrier that had formed within this student’s mind was gigantic. I say so because even when I tried to calm his nerves and initiate the learning-is-fun-approach, it didn’t work and after a few weeks he dropped out.
It’s not that his case is not exceptionally unique, it’s that you’d find fragments of this psychological barrier in most people who have tried to transition to the digital age. For instance, there are many young people today who can write code, design websites, etc., but cannot resolve certain simple issues like a failing driver. Truth is if they go online to find solutions, they will find plenty, but the mindset to solve that problem is missing. I know this because I’ve been working in IT support for some time now and these things happen every day. Also, has it ever occured to some parents that their kids may have been failing at computer based test because of how inefficient they are with the machine?
Just like science has proven that children who are introduced to the multiplication table at an early stage will likely find math questions easy, children introduced to technology at an early stage will find solving most technology-related problems as elementary. The idea that you’re not settling for a computer-related career, therefore you do not need knowledge of computers is a misconception that has overstayed its welcome in society. There is virtually no sphere of life now that you do not require information communication technology and, there will come a time where more people will lose their jobs or be denied offers if they are not technologically savvy.
Parents must therefore encourage their children to pay attention to technology, support them by investing in their gadgets, and learning. Parents must also be interested in knowing the progress of their children. That way, they’re not only improving their chances of landing better education or career opportunities, but also ensuring that they’re raising kids, skilled young women and men capable of solving society’s numerous challenges.