A father of seven year old twin boys remarked that kids were over stimulated thanks to technology and class room teaching no longer appealed to them. With access to video games and supermen they needed to be engaged all the while which in turn was affecting parents at home and teachers in school with neither group equipped to keep pace with their demands. Gone are the days when kids could be left to play on their own while parents relaxed. The kids had to be constantly engaged. As a result they go to soccer camps, music class, learn yoga and karate. True, over stimulated minds are difficult to handle. This is certainly a topic for balanced debate.
The conversation then shifted to the plight of senior school teachers who had to make interesting power point presentations and throw in cartoon characters even to teach subjects like Chemistry and Mathematics. I could understand children in their preteens getting easily distracted but do senior school children need stimulants to understand the basics of a subject? I remembered an essay that we had to write in our 11th standard - "Is Technology a Boon or Bane to Society"? So even before Television had entered our homes and mobile telephones were unheard of, our elders had been worried of the changes taking place in our lives due to technological advancement. I was myself of the opinion that mobile phones were a luxury and school going children were better off without them. Or that two wheelers that were motorized were not meant for children in high school and they would benefit more if they cycled to school. My mother had advised me against sending more than the required amount for my daughter's hostel expense when she joined college saying that she would waste it. I would send her a draft each month. But five years later I got my son an ATM card partly because I wanted to be spared the trouble of making a draft and sending it by registered post.It was also because I had realized that he may face unforeseen situations and require money at short notice. Internet banking skills were acquired much later and I now seem to have forgotten the days when one actually stood in a queue to purchase railway tickets.
I see myself reaping the benefits of advanced technology and have to admit that life has become a lot easier on account of it. Why then am I worried that over exposure to technology may harm my children and grandchildren? Even while I write this post my 9 year old granddaughter is baking a cake all on her own. Her dad has gifted her a mini oven with a timer. Her mom has bought her cake mixes with proper directions. With a little help from me (to measure vegetable oil and to remove the finished cake from the oven) the child has managed to bake a cake and now she has started on the preparation of cookies. Mini ovens and cake mixes were not available when my children were growing up but that is beside the point. Technology, when put to proper use, is never harmful. Educating children on the proper use of the tools available to them and encouraging them to understand that life is not just speeding up but also slowing down to savor the beauty of nature and to give a thought to the less privileged ones among them would perhaps balance the hyperactivity that they are constantly subjected to. For this attitude to develop socially productive activities ought to be encouraged. For instance why don't we have parents teaching their wards to manage a kitchen garden? Why not train them to fold clothes and arrange their closet or vacuum their rooms? Isn't it true at least to some extent that parents too want to relax and prefer to latch their kids on to a video game or a TV program even if it only to keep them off their backs? Are we not proud that a child in our family not yet two years of age is able to plug an earphone to his ear, hit the right button and listen to music from an i Pad? I know that I feel puffed up when my grand kids do it.
I am sorry to say that the onus is on parents and grandparents. The child can and should be given direction and elders ought to strike a balance regarding the activity their wards indulge in. Not easy I admit,but no harm trying.