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Computer Age Parenting… By Chukwuneta Oby


Someone asked how appropriate it is for children below ten years of age to own some expensive toys like ipad.

My response was ‘’computer age parents are at it again’’.

A tablet for a child that is younger than sixteen? That’s absurdity. As a matter of fact, besides convenience (while on the move)…I see nothing that those ‘new age technology toys’ can do that my good old laptop cannot do.

Sometimes, I feel most parents are ‘trying too hard’ to make up for their ‘childhood lacks’ through their children. ‘My kids must have those things that I didn’t have as a child’’.

It is most pathetic when parents think that what should matter most in a child’s upbringing is how many expensive toys there are in the possession of such a child-especially because others have them.

The lack of substance in the trainings that we impact on the children of this age is even evident in the cosmetic grammar (that they cannot spell a word of)…which most of them speak.

A lot of those that did not have such privileges still turned out well…blessed with a reasoning ability (with character) that the seeming ‘old school’ environments instilled in them. Such trainings sought (first and foremost) to instill discipline and manners in children. The modesty of it all turned out to be at their greatest advantage today. Some high achievers have never touched an ipad and co. It was just of recent day that I started using a Black Berry…thanks to a friend. And if I stop using it-I will be relieved…all that distracting pings? I have had to vow never to let too much technology control my life.

Our efforts at bringing up children in this age are rather plastic. Visit some highbrow schools and you will weep for them. When parents are not mandated to buy that colour of dress for a particular party, some parents take it upon themselves to outdo each other via their children’s birthday parties. You attend a child’s tenth birthday party and think you are at a state banquet.

Parents are not allowing the children to be children anymore!

Saddling a child with an expensive toy is hardly a good way of stirring their innocent minds in the right direction. Left to me, having them learn the basic use of a computer and a mobile phone (at an early age) is more like it.

Then spicing things up with occasional trip to the village during long vacations…to spend some time with grandma and grandpa or other relatives in the village and probably make friends in the village. Where grandpa and grandma are no more, some close relatives will do…even if such visits are brief, the experiences usually last a lifetime and it helps shape them. Such will not prevent you from taking them on vacations abroad…as the essence of life is for a child to have an idea that, there are two sides to every coin.

Another angle that I advise parents to introduce in the lives of children is -getting involved with charity activities. So many ‘city kids’ have been taken to every new eatery in town but they have never been taken to an orphanage or home for ‘special children’. In fact, they don’t even know that a world outside ‘TLC and KFC’ exists. It makes sense to always remind them (subtly) of their blessings, that it could have been the other way round and thus-stir their compassion. Obliging every of a child’s request entrenches a sense of entitlement in him/her.

Get children involved with activities of scouts, guilds etc…these organisations help build their character by teaching them discipline, interpersonal skills and strength of character.


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