I was shocked to read about the baby cot with an in-built iPad in your latest cover story ‘Saving children from digital addiction’ (PW December). Are we so hooked on to gadgets that we now want to rely on them to help put our infants to sleep? It is a sad reflection of the warped priorities of the new generation of millennial parents.
As a mother of two teenagers, I experience the impact of tech addiction on children on a daily basis. During the recent Christmas holidays, my children wanted to do nothing other than watch TV and play computer games. American author Brad Huddleston is right that tech addiction is akin to cocaine addiction. It has entrapped the new generation into its make-believe false world of pleasure.
My advice to parents with young children is to enforce digital discipline early, communicate the disastrous consequences of digital addiction clearly to children, and don’t be afraid to ban gadgets from the house if addiction is severe.
Online bullying scourge
I enjoy reading Aarti Rajaratnam’s Ask Your Counselor column. In the latest issue (PW December), her response to a question about fighting school bullies is very relevant.
As a primary school teacher, I am witness to a sharp increase in the number of bullying cases. This wasn’t the case ten years ago. In the Internet age where social media is ubiquitous, children have taken bullying to the online realm with devastating consequences. Counselors in our school are struggling to help children cope with online bullying. It is a very relevant issue which needs widespread in-depth discussion.
More stories for dads
In India, child-rearing is generally accepted as the duty of mothers with fathers playing a secondary role. Most parenting magazines are also targeted at mothers. This is wrong. Male parents must share equal responsibility to nurture children, helping with daily chores such as bathing, diaper changing, feeding, and homework.
With an increasing number of women working full-day jobs, it is important that men fulfill their parenting responsibility. Also, grandparents and caregivers play an important role in raising children.
Please include some stories especially targeted at male parents and grandparents.
Parents need education!
The story on teen suicides focused on a very important and timely issue (PW November). Most parents tend to neglect their children’s emotional problems in the hope that they will fade away in time. Also in this achievement and celebrity-obsessed world, parents are setting the expectations bar too high for children.
The recent spate of student suicides in Kota, the coaching capital of India, is a prime example. Children are taking their own lives because they are unable to cope with the pressure exerted by parents, who, instead of supporting them, are pushing them to the brink. Parent education is the need of the hour.
In the 21st century, engineering and medicine are not the be-all and end-all of careers. Parents need to become aware that there is a plethora of new careers available today, and that children’s aptitudes need to match with their chosen careers if they are to be successful and happy.
Encourage reading habit
With dozens of companies inviting student participation in English language Olympiads and Spell bee competitions, the English language has become a rote learning subject. As a student of literature, I have always loved the beauty and fluidity of the English language. My 12-year-old daughter and I appreciate your Fun with Words section. But these days reading for pleasure is being replaced by the urge to read to win competitions.
We need to encourage the reading habit in young children. On trains, I observe that children spend 75 percent of the journey playing on mobile phones. This is disturbing and parents need to take the lead and encourage children to read for pleasure.