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TOP STORY: The Youth and Technology PDF Print E-mail

By Margaret Sevume, I-Network.

Before the onset of literacy, kings and chiefs of old would communicate using messengers who travelled and verbally recited messages to distant recipients. This was a largely hit-and-miss affair as we are told, what happened when the missionary Dr David Livingstone was supposed to be released but ended up getting killed as a result of a verbal message gone wrong. With literacy and technology advances, things are a lot better now. Messengers have since been replaced by written letters, modified to telegraphs, telex and fax machines. More advances enjoyed by users saw the birth of even more sophisticated devices like the TVs, radios, computers and mobile phones.

Children are inherently curious and as these new devices get more accessible, they are quick to learn and often teach their parents how to optimise their use. This is good because  technological  advances improve and enhance life situations needed for the fast-pace that life has become and children as the leaders of tomorrow need to be in sync with this pace.

Radios , TVs and computers play a significant role in expanding children’s education and knowledge base. Radios are relatively cheaper to acquire, and their  transmissions can cover greater distances in real time. A lesson aired on radio, can get to most children in the country who se schools have tuned in. A TV has an added visual advantage while a computer would  in addition avail comprehensive  details.  All these have been used to disseminate knowledge in and outside the schools with resounding success.

 

There is more to these devices than knowledge dissemination however and as mentioned, it is children and the youth at the forefront of discovering their full potential. There are more young adults and children using social media than parents.  Again, this is not necessarily a bad thing.  For any question put on social media, there will be numerous responses that can guide or advise making learning easier, faster and fun.

However this seemingly rosy picture has some “thorns”. An untruth published using these technologies would travel faster and further whilst correction would be next to impossible.  The Internet as the base on which most technology is built is anonymous and has no owner. Anyone can use it as they see fit, sometime with tragic consequences.

Children need to be closely supervised to steer clear of bad intentioned individuals found on social media platforms such as whatssupp, Facebook etc . Fraudsters, human traffickers and paedophiles usually exploit social media  to get access to their victims .

Calls, emails or text messages claiming that one have won prizes in events where one did not participate is very suspicious. Divulging personal information leads to loss of privacy which might negatively affect career and relationships.

Computers and more recently mobile phones have completely altered our social, cultural and economic landscape in ways never imagined before. This was advise given about an app, "Talking Angela," that was deemed indecent by some while others found it suitable for use by children:

“Parents ought to supervise their children's use of computers and smartphones, and that goes for downloadable games and apps, as well. It also goes without saying, or at any rate I hope it does, that parents need to learn at least a little bit about how such devices and apps work in order to properly supervise their use. Ideally, this would entail reading the documentation, downloading the app, trying it out, and familiarizing oneself with all of its features before handing it over to the kids.”

This is sound advice. All adults should endeavour to follow it.

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