With the way technology is changing everything around us and the speed with which these changes are coming into effect are at times quite a cause for concern.
I say this because I see how these elements are affecting our children from a very early age. The exposure they have to the kind of media these days certainly shows that parenting will have to undergo a radical change along with everything else.
Day before yesterday, I was sitting with my 17 months old daughter in front of the TV. The volume was muted but the television was on and the scene being enacted was from some Hollywood movie of an argument ensuing between a man and a woman. At one point the man roughly grabbed the woman by the arm and forced her to sit down (the agression of the scene was limited to what I’ve described and did not expand to anything violent). I was watching the scene and suddenly my daughter said, “Amma, Aunty gir gai hen” (translation: “Amma, Aunty fell”). I was speechless! Obviously because I wasn’t even remotely aware that such a young mind was capable of comprehending something like that. What worried me even more was thinking about how exposure to things such as these can affect a young mind. Before my readers digress from the topic to chastise me on why I was watching a movie in front of my kid, I’ll explain that I wasn’t. We just ended up in the room while playing and the aforementioned incident happened while we were taking a break from our activities. Please remember, don’t be judgemental because we all make mistakes 🙂
Coming back to the topic, the lesson that I’ve learned from my experience is that we need to anticipate the kind of challenges that we might now have to encounter in the face of the rapidly changing technological, social and cultural landscape. The media is spewing up all sorts of stuff, and especially in a country like Pakistan, where regulations are extremely lax, parents need to keep an eye out for the kind of material their children are exposed to. Hindi movies are being played on almost all local commercial TV channels and are promoting a culture that we as children were deterred from. And while ‘bad’ always existed in the society, the reason we know more about it today is because we are more exposed to it now. News about tragedies, accidents and crimes is playing on TV almost 90% of the time. Heck there are even shows out there which replicate crime stories and play them on TV! So, what do you think we can do to proactively tackle these challenges as parents?