Joan: Okay, Mum. What do you want to know about sex?
The world has moved. Deal with it or get dealt with! One thing I’ve realized is that the world won’t wait for you; you have to catch up with it. If you don’t step up your game, you get knocked off the ring. A good place to start is for us as parents to have a major paradigm shift.
We view the world through where we’re coming from; our children view the world through what they’re born into. We witnessed the evolution of smartphones and exotic tablets from analogue box phones; they opened their eyes as babies and saw smartphones and sleek tablets. We didn’t see a computer until we were adults; they played with mini computers as babies. We woke up on Saturday mornings to piles of clothes and endless chores; they woke up to their favorite cartoons and games. We woke up on Saturdays to soak beans to be peeled and grounded on stone; they woke up to instant powdered beans to be mixed with water and fried. We trekked long distance to and fro school; they have chauffeur-driven, air conditioned cars, or public cabs and bikes to take them to and fro school. We were given all sorts of horrible punishments when we erred; they are not even allowed to be spanked. They lack a balance of the digital and non-digital experiences of life, which we have.
So, you see, they can’t think like us. Their experience of the world is different. Their orientation and mentality regarding life is a whole world apart from ours. To make any progress with them, we need to view the world from their perspective. This will give us a balanced outlook. We cannot solve a new problem with old solutions, can we? That, however, is what a lot of parents try to do. We tend to solve our own parenting problems with the same approach our parents used for us. Little wonder we’re not making much progress.
But how can we? It seems like it’s only parents who have refused to step up their game in this digital age. Check out teaching, for example. Why are teachers not still referring pupils to encyclopedias and atlases? Why have they stepped up to digital-based teaching? Educators are daily responding to the needs of the digital generation, rather than trying to fit a new generation into old models of education that they were taught with. A study by Jukes et al. (2010) reveals that more than 60 percent of students today are visual kinaesthetic learners. This means they prefer learning that is relevant, active, instantly useful, and fun. They prefer to be engaged and discover course content through exploration, interaction, and collaboration. This is different from our own model of learning, which was mainly lecturing and cramming.
What about advertising? The content and channel of advertising has greatly changed from what we were used to. Adverts are now made around what people in this age can relate with. No advert will show a woman receiving a call from an analogue phone except it’s a throwback. What about the channels? Now, we have adverts on Youtube videos, on our apps and even as text messages. Why don’t advertisers limit their adverts to TV and radio alone like they did when we were growing up? Because the world has moved and they have to catch up or be left behind. As a matter of fact, content and advertisement is now higher on new media than it is on traditional media.
Today, Mama Bisi at the fabric market has an online presence. She posts pictures of her fabrics regularly on Instagram, Facebook and on her WhatsApp status. She doesn’t just sit down in her shop; she realizes that her customers are now too busy to go to the market, but they are on social media. So she does the smart thing and moves her beautiful fabrics to where they are. But she doesn’t stop there; she gives them an option of delivery. That way, her customers don’t have to move a muscle. At the clicks of their phones, they place their orders and have them delivered at their doorsteps. The bitter truth is that Mama Bisi is smarter than many parents. She refuses to be stuck in the past. She realizes that the world has evolved, and she also needs to evolve to survive. Many of us (parents) are still stuck in the past. We still use the old school model on which we were raised to raise our children, and we complain of lack of results or contrary results.
Even churches are not left out of the evolution. Many churches don’t wait for you to come to church now. They understand that the dynamics of society have changed and not everyone is free on Sundays anymore. So what do they do? They stream their services. Thus, you can attend church at work or on your bed, right from the comfort of your home. They have removed the walls in their churches, they now have websites. This also means their printing needs have reduced. Their content is now mostly digital. Not only that, their mode of advertising has evolved. They now invite people for programs through adverts on social media instead of strictly on radio and television as we were used to, while growing up. What do you think will happen to an urban church that still focuses solely on tracts and paper flyers as its evangelism and advertisement channels? It will not grow.
Let’s bring it down home and look at the work you do. Is your mode of operation what it used to be ten years ago? Is your industry what it used to be, just ten years ago? Are your working tools what they used to be ten years ago? Are your customers limited to who they used to be ten years ago? Is your neighborhood what it used to be ten years ago? Is your spouse who he/she used to be ten years ago? I caught you there! Many couples never knew emotional affairs could occur in the dimensions they’re now occurring, with the advance in technology. Many never knew their spouses could become addicts of pornography, no thanks to the digital era.
What about you? Are you the person you were just ten years ago? Do you have the same tastes, preferences and friends you had ten years back? Ten years ago, I couldn’t order goods or services from a random person on the internet, but now I can. Ten years ago, I didn’t make money from the internet. Now, I do. Ten years ago, I didn’t hold classes and meetings virtually. Now, I do! So if we can change the way we operate in other areas of our lives in just ten years, how come we’re still trying to raise our children with the same methods our parents used thirty years ago? Think about it and remember this as you do: If you don’t step up, you’ll be stepped on.
WiFi Kids & Analogue Parents addresses the changes in the dynamics of parenting in this age and how to handle those changes. Written in a down-to-earth and fun manner, it provides the much needed guide for raising children in the digital age. It is so all-encompassing and highlights the pros and cons of the digital age, sex education for kids, understanding and communicating with children in the digital age, constructing boundaries, creating effective sleep patterns, among other salient issues bordering on parenting in the digital age.
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