You may be reading this magazine after an exhausting meeting at office. Or you may be reading it while contemplating on your cup of coffee. It may even be that you have just returned from a morning walk and have picked up this magazine. All in your busy hour, or your leisure, do you know now what the kid next door is doing? Or, if you are a parent, do you know what your child is doing now?
Childhood is a miraculous age. It is the time when we adopt our best of habits. It is the time when bad ideas also start to brew in us. For example, the little boy or girl learns jealousy when the teacher in his primary school gives more attention to his classmate. Or when he has a younger sibling who suddenly becomes the centre of family attention. These little outbursts of anger (for not getting a toy), little arguments with friends and families soon to be whisked away in only a short while, the hyper mood swings which if you draw a graph will jump from high to low- these are all evidences of our innocent phase of life, a phase we all have faced and some are facing now.
The reader may perhaps be bothered with my constant rambling and wonder what the reason behind it all is. The reason is in fact a simple one. We all have had our share of laughter and tears in childhood. However, is the current status quo for children one of the bests? Coming to the point, is the current overindulgence in play station and video games, cell phones and internets as safe and sound to health as it had been in our time? For one thing, we were not so overtly exposed to technology. Even a generation before us will reminisce those BTV days when cartoon was shown only during a specific hour in the evening, around which homework and activities were surrounded. The internet and cell phone (therefore communication over next door) was almost inexistent.
But suddenly with the advancement of technology, preoccupations over these have increased as well. This tech savvy generation are having to wear high-powered glasses and the outburst of dozens of satellite channels have not helped very much as well. But that is not what this article is all about. The worse forms of crime, the crime of negligence, is being addressed here.
While we give access to the internet to our kids, do we ensure their safety as well? While naturally concerned parents will not shove their kids outside the security of homes, alone but rather escort them even if it is to the nearest shop in the neighbourhood to buy a packet of chips. But the internet is a place with billions of people from all around the world. It is a place with thousands of types of people, some good, some bad. How can we easily shove them into this digital world completely unprotected when we take care of them so preciously in the real world? These days even kids in kindergarten have Gacebook accounts. There is nothing wrong with that. But are you sure that they are talking to the right people? That they are not being manipulated or brainwashed or being used as a means to get information of your house by some scrupulous figure? Leaving aside hacked and fake accounts but even then, there are various types of characters in the world out there who have access to internet. 40 year old man disguising himself as a 7 year old girl is nothing new in this vicious world of net. Let’s also reconsider the memes in facebook most of which are shared keeping adults in mind. However facebook or other social sites do not have any standard or system to recognize a person’s age and customize contents as it is. Before you know it, your child will be sharing memes about marriage and dating even before he can spell those words. And that is all happening right now, in the 21st century.
A brief description of the plethora of junk shown in television doesn’t help the situation at all. While some cartoons and serials, travel shows and reality programs are harmless fun and entertaining, do you really want your child dancing to crude Hindi item songs? That is far from reality. A friend of mine who teaches in school was talking last night of her 7 year old student who watches a late night travel show which is strictly nothing for a child to watch. I wonder what were this little boy’s parents doing at that time! Perhaps they have their excuses. Perhaps they were really busy stacked in office files or tired from an entire day’s work.
The last crime to bust here will be the extra violent video games that makes crimes seem like something cool. This absence of guardian’s genuine guidance in a world webbed with atrocious crimes, unprotected sites and cunning individuals can result in something very dangerous.
We, the grown-ups, may have hundreds of things to be worried about. We have genuine worries about our lives, our jobs, paying the bills, etc which the kids may not have. But these are not good enough excuses to devour their innocence from them. We need to emancipate them, sometimes, from this concrete jungle as well. Hours and hours in front of the television or computer is doing nothing great to their health as well.
To come to a conclusion, kids are in fact getting smarter. They have the privilege to use computers something many of us in our childhood did not have. They have gotten a better grasp in decision making fighting single handed in various occasions. Let’s not push them to loneliness. Here are some things you can do to make sure your kid is not losing the path:
1) Make it a point of having lunch or dinner together. As they say, a family that eats together stays together.
2) Try to talk as a friend to your son or daughter every day. There is no need to talk about serious life matters. Talk about what you did on your entire day and what s/he did.
3) Show your emotional connection. Give your little boy a hug more than often especially if both of you parents are working. Because this means the child is deprived of having either a mother or a father from dawn to dusk. So this is when you need to connect more and help your child feel that she is special.
4) Play games, watch cartoons, get involved with them.
5) While letting them use computer, cellphone and television freely, make sure you do no pry or spy yet expect them to be at liberty to take the right decision. For this reason, you need to talk a lot with them and make them feel comfortable. They need to open up to you. This way, if they had recently made a ‘bad’ friend in facebook who has asked for your home’s contact number and information, they will tell you readily and you can save them and perhaps yourself from imminent danger.
6) Plan holidays and weekends out together!
7) If your child seems troubled and wants to talk to you, keep away the office file and take her hand and listen. Perhaps the school bully or tough homework may be issues you will laugh at but for the kid it’s a disaster.
8) Take them to their friends, grandparents, neighbours’ places often. It will help them adopt socialization as a natural impulse rather than a forced activity.