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Friday, December 1, 2017

More Mentoring Than Monitoring

We live in different times. Our generation is the one that saw the progress of digital media in leaps and bounds. Around 50% of the world population has an internet connection today in comparison to 1% in 1995*. We saw the internet being transformed from exotic to an everyday necessity. If we have house guests today we welcome them with food, a comfortable bed and our wifi password. Our kids are going to be the first generation to grow up with digital devices. We are the first to raise a generation of digital citizens. It is almost like we have discovered fire and we have to keep our kids from going near it to prevent them from harm. In order to protect our children we are busy monitoring their interaction with the screens and in doing so we are forgetting to mentor the next generation so that they become the best citizens in our digitally connected world. Deborah Heitner, founder of Raising Digital Natives, deftly points out that mentoring is much more crucial than monitoring in managing screen times for children. Raising kids is hard work and the digital media just adds another staggering layer of difficulty on top of an already uphill task. I think the time is now when we need to participate with our kids in the digital space. We need to make our digital participation an extension of the social interaction with our children, one that is smooth and seamless and one that will make them strategic thinkers in the physical world and beyond.

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