To go digital or not
The reality is that- like we, grown-ups, our kids too are using technology to take the leap forward. And that’s a good thing. The tricky part is figuring out how to allow our kids to try new things while also keeping them safe and keeping ourselves from freaking out.
Just as we were over this self-doubt and I pondered over the disadvantages of technological advancement in a get-together, I received an email invite to attend a Panel discussion on ‘Raising Millennials in the Digital Age’. Call it mere coincidence, exaggeration or intervention of Providence, I knew that this invite ought to be accepted to know the opinion of the best minds over this topic.
As I am, both an educator and a parent, I decided that an introspection over the topic should lead to some clarity and understanding on where I am going right or wrong in raising my kid at home and mentoring the kids in school!
Ansal University organised a panel discussion in collaboration with Young FICCI Ladies’ Organisation (YFLO) and the topic of discussion was ‘Raising Millennials in the Digital Age’.
This event was held at The Lalit Hotel in New Delhi on 27th October 2017. Experts from the fields of media and academia participated in the discussion. And, I was privileged to be part of the same.
The panellists of the session were
Ms Vanita Uppal, (OBE Director, British School, New Delhi
Ms Ankhi Das (Public Policy Director, Facebook, India),
Ms Kallie Puri (Group Editorial Director, India Today),
Mr Saket Modi (Co-founder and CEO of Lucideous)
The moderator of the discussion was none other than the very famous Mr Rajiv Makhni of NDTV’s ‘Gadget Guru’ fame.
Millenials, Millenials, Millenials…Now, who are Millenials?
Millenials are also termed the Generation Y and are a group of people with birth years ranging from the early 1980s till early 2000.Which means the previous generation was known as Generation X. This group of people would be the most familiar with communications, media and digital technology.Well, I am a Millenial, too!
Some very introspective and relevant questions that were discussed and answered by the panel.
I liked the fact which Ms Ankhi Das highlighted- ‘We as parents and teachers cannot be oblivious to the advantages of the internet and phones or the digital space. Children are creating miracles using technology and we should not be depriving them of this creativity. Instead, we need to create share spaces at home for healthy parent-child relationships’.
Children spend a substantial time at school amidst teachers and co-students. Thus, the role of schools and teachers cannot be overlooked when we discuss ‘Raising Millenials in the digital age.
And to highlight the observations and steps taken towards the same, Ms.Vanita Uppal informs that ‘Every good teacher is a psychologist and a parent in the school. And, this is the reason why, British School has created groups like Tech wizards, Google Geeks, to include students in activities involving technology. So that, their interests can be channelized in the right direction’.
She also stressed the fact that the misuse of technology is due to deeper issues like low self-esteem, depression and other conditions of the students for which the parents and school need to collaborate and create a path.
She had a word of advice for parents – ‘I understand that parenting is trouble. Speak out with your children and stay safe’.
I particularly loved what a 17-year-old student Simran Nanda had to confess. She shared her observations on ‘Privilege’ and ‘Self-esteem’ by stating that – ‘Millenials including her, are privileged to be born in this digital age. Unlike our parents who had to virtually start from rock-bottom, many of the millennial kids have the advantage of an established platform which is a boon in itself. Instead, we keep wasting time on social media comparing ourselves to others that have severely damaged the self-esteem of today’s kids and parents. The need of the hour is to put away the phones, cut-off from digital media and introspect as to what are we without social-media. Also, realizing that there is a real world beyond social-media’.
Ms.Kalie Puri responded to what Simran confessed with- ‘Parents need to keep boosting the self-esteem of their kids by constantly encouraging them and recognizing their efforts so that the kids do not look for recognition on social-media and validate their actions’
To add to the discussion, Mr.Saket Modi said, “Millenials are not only about bean bags and frills but much more. So, let them make use of social media to achieve laurels. But, for this, cyber-security needs to be in place and is the need of the hour’’
Ms.Ankhi Das added by stressing on the point that- ‘In Mumbai, parents have started groups on Facebook like ‘Mumbai Moms’ and are working on and off the virtual world, in Raising Millenials’
The Final Take
The advent of the internet has drastically changed the content availability, our interactions and communications with one another, the way an educator teaches, the path a learner seeks out for information and the way the children of today spend their ‘Playtime’.
It is no more about how to control, but rather an understanding of the changing and ever dynamic world. The need of the hour is adaptability!
It’s about learning how to use technology in an ethical way by taking advantage of the ever-changing technological advancements that are here to stay. It is all about collaboration between parents and educators working together to help achieve this when Raising the Millennials!
So, what do you think about Raising Millenials in this age? How do you manage a balance as a parent or as an educator or as both, sometimes? Please write about your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section….
Hope you too like and appreciate such discussions as I do!
Pics of the event: Ansal University
General pics: Pixabay