Author: Dr. Ajit Varwandkar
We have almost come out of covid, and most teaching-learning is offline. At this stage, the question much debated by academicians, parents and expert policymakers is: Should we now children to surrender smartphones?
Before you read further, I request you to stop and reflect on this issue of great concern. Think about it and seek your views. What do you think is best to do? Should students continue with their smartphones, or must they be made out of their reach? Please note that we are specifically concerned about the school-going kids aged 5 to 15 years.
It is challenging today to imagine life without a phone in hand, even for adults! Almost each one of us is now much dependent on the screen inputs. Our human body has 78 organs. Smartphone addiction has made its place as the 79th organ!
During my career counselling sessions, students must come along with their parents. When the sessions are on, students mostly talk to me about various career-related subjects. However, parents speak mostly about their ward’s unproductive phone habits. Many of them complain that their kids are always hooked on Social Media. Parents ask me to help them get their kids out of the ‘bad’ phone habit.
Forcibly snatching the phone and bargaining with kids on ‘phone hour usage’ is a prevalent practice by parents. One parent gave a unique version, and he told me he actually “stole” his son’s smartphone. Secretly he managed to hide the phone at his workplace (where the kid had no access). To make the theft look authentic, he even went to a nearby police station with his son and registered a phone lost complaint! He did all this to ensure that, during the examination days, at least the boy would focus on his studies! This behaviour sounds like the peak of desperation and helplessness, isn’t it?
I am not in favour of keeping students deprived of smartphones. Instead, it is time to educate them on the proper usage of technology. A lesson in discipline and prioritising is a better alternative to taking away phone access from kids. Parents must not forget that these are digital-age kids. Almost all the Z generation kids had had exposure to smartphones much before they were born! When these Centennials were in the womb for nine months, their parent engaged most of their time over digital screens. The spiritual science of “Garbh Sanskar” tells that a child acquires the most deep-rooted learnings and behaviours before birth. For this reason, these kids are bound to get glued to the digital world.
Some parents argue, saying, “when I was a kid, I never got so much addicted!” When you were kids, technology may not have been so easily accessible and in use. The future of jobs and careers is in the digital, neuro and quantum domains. The competition is likely to intensify still further. It shall be a war for survival in the digital space tomorrow. Under such circumstances, only the digitally savvy will have a chance to compete and make a place. As such, it may not be wise to deprive tomorrow’s generation of technology.
In this context, the biggest concern is also a good asset for today’s kids – Digital Multitasking. Time is always pressing, and targets are ever-bulging. Hence I always request parents not to curse or fire kids for their use of technology. Instead, we need to monitor and sensitise this generation on the content they get to consume. Once they are convinced about the value of time and sensible about the do’s and don’ts, technology will become their most significant asset.
Do contact me in case you have any career queries.
Dr. Ajit Varwandkar is the Director of myaglakadam.com. He is a leading career counselor and can be contacted on 9826132972 or email him at email@example.com
This column was originally published by the author in The Times of India