It’s 2017 and I swear babies come out of the womb knowing how to handle a smartphone and hack your encrypted iPad. Can’t figure out how to use filters on Instagram or add a doggy face to Snapchat? Ask a five-year-old.
How are we preparing our children to not only manipulate someone else’s creation but develop their own?
Here are a few reasons why Caribbean parents are not raising the next Mark Zuckerberg.
- Not answering their whys. It was rude to ask why after being given an instruction from an adult and in some places it still is a no no. Children are naturally inquisitive and we need to answer their questions and use today’s technology to help them explore alternative points of view even more.
- Keeping up the with Joneses. Children are given smart devices even before they can speak and as a way to impress others with how “great” we are at providing expensive things for them. They don’t have the capacity to be responsible or understand the value of what is in their hands at such an early age.
- Not managing what they see and where they go online. The technology is set up to give you more of what you consume and when you don’t give guidance or set parameters on where your children go online, you are opening them up to be influenced by people and media you would not otherwise allow.
- Not encouraging their participation online.The internet is not something to be feared and we are creating voyeurs when we do not allow them to start their own conversation around what matters to them. Vloggers are popular but how about helping your child set up their own vlog around things that interest them?
- Allowing them to have social media pages before they reach high school. They have learned how to live fraudulent lives when at seven years old they have created profiles which have their birth date listed as 1991. Parents must teach children how to be safe online and it starts with ensuring they are responsible and not being duplicitous on the internet.
- Consuming and never creating. Social media is free to use but can be leveraged to create income. How about tying their access to social media to them creating content to share with others? I have a thing about paying for a device that is three times my rent and it not make me any money.
- Pushing reading material older than their grandparents. How many schools have reading lists which includes authors from their village and books written after 2000? Children need to see themselves and versions of life that fit who they are becoming. Insist that schools upgrade the reading material and purchase books for them to encourage the habit.
- Thinking Being Number One in Academics is enough. There a millions of professional students with double master’s degrees and PhDs who are looking for jobs today. We still celebrate kids who come out on top and discard others that don’t test well. Understanding your child’s abilities and providing the tools for them to excel in their way is vital to building children who will take on big challenges.
- Gossiping in front of them. Children are no longer excluded from adult only conversations and what they hear us speak about are other people’s problems and glorying in their suffering rather than discussing ideas of how to improve our situation and our communities.
- Discouraging entrepreneurship and encouraging our children to be doctors, lawyers, civil servants and such.
- Not investing in the creative arts. We exist body, mind and spirit. The arts connect all our parts and helps us to find hope, meaning and joy in what would otherwise be very boring yet stressful lives.
- They do what they see us do. Parents are consuming only. We’re tired from our three jobs necessary to keep up with the Joneses and possess no energy to do more than flip the TV remote or spy on Facebook.
- We are not learning either. Children are more likely to copy you good or bad. Let them see you do something new and stretch yourself in new areas of life.
- The blame game. They see us complain about what everyone else is not doing rather than solve problems.
- Waiting on permission. If they believe that they need permission from some greater outside force to offer a solution then we are failing them.
Agree or disagree? Let me hear your thoughts in the comments.
Nerissa Golden writes on entrepreneurship, leveraging technology and media to change lives and communities. She is a six-time author, now fusing business strategy with romance in novels. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.