Technology and parenting in 21st century, By Foluso Arowojolu, PhD

Technology and parenting in 21st century, By Foluso Arowojolu, PhD
Dr. Foluso Agnes Arowojolu

Being paper presented by Foluso Agnes Arowojolu, PhD, at Methodist Boys High School, Victoria Island, Lagos, on Saturday, April 2, 2022.

 Protocol: The Principal, Chaplain, Chairman and members of the Board of this great School, distinguished parents, my honourable fellow Teachers, Students of MBHS, ladies and gentlemen.

I want to appreciate the Board of Management of Methodist Boys High School, Victoria Island, Lagos for organising this type of forum whereby the parents of this School can gather together to rob minds together on how to become better parents as well as how to help our children to become better persons in future. In fact we need different fora of this nature in our nation Nigeria in order to discuss and profer solution to the decadence in our society.

On this note, it is with a great pleasure that I am here today to share with us few things about technology and parenting in the 21st century. However, I modified the topic as ” Raising lambs among the Wolves in the 21st century”. The decadence in our society, which has turned to a cancer eating up every sphere of life in our society, particularly the education industry, has been attributed more to failure of the homes (parents) due to dysfunctional marriages and homes. It is believed that it takes healthy families to raise a healthy society.  Although the Bible foretold it that perilious time will come. We are already experiencing the dangerous time. Today, our dear nation, Nigeria has turned to a no go area for foreigners even, the citizenry want to check out of the country. Every individual wants to get out of the country (Nigeria) because things are no longer the way it used to be. Nigeria is now known for corruption, terrorism, rituals, killings, kidnapping, drug abuse, drug trafficking, child trafficking, cybercrimes (illegal ends through the computer, yahooyahoo, Ponzi scheme (Scam investment)), yahoo+ etc.

Since soft skills transcend certificate in the labour market in this 21st century, the foundation for producing well behaved child must be laid at both primary and secondary education.

INTRODUCTON

It is bothersome/worrisome to note that most of these cancerous acts (lack of respect to the teachers, cultism, rituals, violence, drug abuse, homosexuality, lesbianism, suicide, truancy, cybercrimes (phishing, Cyber Extortion, Data breach, yahooyahoo, fraud through internet, pornography, identity theft (stealing identities or violating privacy), Harassment, Account Hacking etc.), yahoo+  are found among our youths who are students in the secondary schools and tertiary institutions  These are done all in the name to get wealth/riches quickly, fame and honour in the society. Unfortunately, who is to be blamed, the government, the parents, the educators (teachers, curriculum developers, the school owners and managers), the students, the religious leaders and centres (Church/Mosque)?

The Bible says all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. All the stakeholders are to be blamed for the menace and decadence in the society.

  • Government – bad leadership, poor economy, hardship, system of employment (emphasis on certification) etc.
  • Educators – incomplete education system, corruption among the teachers, lack of morals, aiding of the children in examination malpractices
  • Religious leaders – the wealthy people are celebrated in the religious homes, truth is lost in the religious teachings, the religious leaders wants gigantic edifice as their worshipping centres.
  • Students – get rich syndrome, negative thinking and notion about education (that education is not path to make it in life), lack of home training, peer influence, lack of contentment etc.
  • Parents – many homes have lost values, (parents as role model, Charity begins at home), broken homes (divorce, separation), indulgences of the children (some parents idolize their children, aiding the children in examination malpractices), negligence and non-performance of its intended function (duty) Parents are functioning incorrectly.
  • What is technology?
  • Technology is the product of transferring scientific knowledge to practical use. It includes the use of materials, tools, techniques and source of power to make life easier or more pleasant and work more productive. Technology influences the values of society by changing expectation and realities.
  • Types of technology
  • Energy – Solar Panels, wind turbines, batteries,
  • Communication – Television, Internet, Cell Phones,
  • Electrical – computers, Circuitry, Artificial Intelligence, Software, Audio and visual technology (camera, microphone & projector)
  • Mechanical – Manufacturing, heavy engineering
  • Medical – Diagnostics, Pharmaceutical, surgical, Monitoring
  • Transportation – Geolocation, flight, vehicles,
  • Digital Technology has transformed every aspect of human life such as communications, the workplace, entertainment, travel, banking and shopping.

Advantages of Technology

  • Access to information
  • It saves time, risk, money etc. It increases human life span and improves the living standard of
  • Tracking people/children location, activities. Some parents are now using mobile parenting This involves the use of digital devices and applications (parental control device) to monitor their children.
  • It make’s learning easy. Different applications were used to supplement school children education during COVID -19 pandemic
  • It makes research easy
  • It helps to maintain connections. Easy communication, globalisation – interconnected world. It has turned the world to a global village.
  • Entertainment
  • It brought about electricity, transportation, communication, advancement in the field of medical science, engineering, economy etc.

Disadvantages of Technology

Technology has made globalisation possible however, the volume of ineraction socially, economically and culturally has posed risks.

  • The screen time – Staying long on the screen
    • Sleep Problem
    • Cognitive Decline- Lower grades
    • Health issues – Insomnia, brain damage, mood problems,
    • Effective Social skills is hindered
  • Contents – films that promotes social vices, pornography, horror films, Bet Niger, crypto currency etc.
  • Lack of trust among people. Cybercrimes – fraud, Ponzi Scheme, hackers etc.
  • Dominance of Western culture on recessive culture.
  • Violation of social values and loss incoherence of tradition.
  • The turn down of traditional media. E.g. television and newspaper
  • Laziness – the introduction of robots and machine.

PARENTING

  • Who is a parent?

A parent is an adult or guardian with at least one child under his\her care.

  • What is Parenting?

According to Oxford Dictionary Parenting means the activity of bringing up a child as a parent. It is the intricacies of raising a     child.

  • Parenting Style is important
  • Genetics and Environment have equal influence –on human traits
  • Parenting Style determines largely the kind of environment that the child is raised in
  • Types of Parenting Styles

There are four (4) Parenting styles according to the psychologists.

  • Authoritative
  • Authoritarian (Disciplinarian)
  • Permissive (Indulgent)
  • Neglectful (uninvolved)

Authoritative Style Reasoning and explanation for their actions. They teach children sense of awareness, values, morals and goals

  • Disciplinary methods are confrontative (reasoned, negotiable, outcome oriented, regulates behaviours. They set rules and enforce boundaries,
  • They are affectionate and supportive, they provide their children with lot of freedom and encourage independence, they encourage bidirectional communication. Children of authoritative parents are; happy, content, more independent, more active, achieve higher academic performance, develop good self-esteem, interact with peers using competent social skills, better mental health, exhibit less violent tendencies.

Authoritarian Style

It is characterised by

  1. high levels of parental control
  2. Low levels of parental responsiveness – to children’s needs and are generally not nurturing
  • Blind obedience
  • One way Communication
  • Strict rules and order
  • Stern Discipline and the use of harsh punishment to obtain behavioural control. Disciplinary methods are coercive
  • They use mean treatment to toughen up their kids.
  • Characeristics of their children; unhappy disposition, less independent, appear insecure, possess low self-esteem more temper tantrums, perform worse academically, have poor social, prone to mental issues,

Permissive Parenting (Indulgent)

  1. Parents set very few rules and boundaries
  2. Parents are reluctant to enforce rules
  3. They do not want to say no or disappoint to their children

Characteristics of their children

  • They can not follow rules
  • Have worse self control
  • Possess egocentric tendencies
  • Encounter more problems in relationships and social interaction

Neglectful Parenting (uninvolved)

  • The parents do not set firm boundaries or high standard
  • They are indifferent to their children’s needs and not involved in issues of their lives

Characteristics of their children

  • They are more impulsive
  • Cannot self-regulate emotion
  • They have addictions problem and encounter more delinquent behavior
  • They have mental issues

 PARENTING IN THE 21TH CENTURY

Parenting in the information age is challenging because it involves almost a total departure from that of older generation. If we will do it the way it was done, it will end up in frustration. Although the same principle but different methods due to the period we are. This is due to

  • Early education
  • Information age

It is easier to become a parent than to be a parent. Parenting needs wisdom, intelligence and God’s help. It comes with enormous responsibility. It is difficult, challenging and daunting these days due to threats from two world to child’s safety (financial obligations, environmental threats (dysfunctional home,  Dysfunctional attitude of the parents – teachers to perform their duties, discipline, counselling, monitoring of their children’s academic performance,  Parents sowing bad seed in their children – lying, jealousy/envy, infidelity, examination malpractices), rituals, kidnapping) and virtual world.

In spite of all these challenges, we can raise godly children in this century. Parenting is like banking, you need to make deposits in order to make a withdrawal. God desires to have a Godly generation – God destroyed Sodom and Gomorah due to their heart that were hardened. Romans 8:36 – God left them to a reprobate mind. The home is the smallest unit of a society. The same way leaders of nations, religious leaders, educators etc. are raised from homes the wolves in the society – kidnappers, bandits, robbers, yahoo boys, etc. were raised from homes. Parents roles can be seen as i) teacher ii) Coach iii) Mentor iv) Cheerleader.

  • Steps in parenting/ Roles of Parents

Parenting is a skill that can be learnt. We get better with knowledge and practice. Therefore, everyone must learn to be a better parent.

  1. Know your children – Know their weaknesses and strength. Parents should know the temperament and attitude of their children. Help them to harness their strength and to overcome their weaknesses. Find out what they like to do and encourage them to be the best they can be.
  2. Spend quality time with them. Build relationship with your children. Have discussion with them. One of the most treasured memories of children are the time their parents spend with them. Establish good communication with them. This establishes good healthy relationship with them. Ask them about their school, teachers, fiends and their daily experiences. Assist them to do their homework.
  3. Teach them to be responsible: Teach them house chores from at young age. Make them responsible for something at home.
  4. Teach them morals, core values and social/interpersonal skills such as patience, tolerance, respect, resilience, responsibility, compassion, forgiveness team work, honesty, contentment, adaptability, accountability etc. V. Hugo says “the person’s principles established since childhood are like letters engraved in the bark of a young tree, which grow, enlarge with it making its integral part”. Right beginning makes the most important part of upbringing.
  5. Rebuke them when they need to be rebuked and be generous with praise and gifts when they do well.
  6. Discipline: Many are yet to get it right in this area because they do not know better.      a) Discipline should not be left in the hands of one of the partners.
  7. b) Never openly rebuke your partner when he/she is disciplining the children even if you do not like the method
  8. c) Do not spare the rod. Let the child know why he or she is being disciplined.
  9. d) Parents must distinguish between discipline and punishment.
  10. e) Let your children know that they cannot get all that they desire. Learn to say “no” when the request for some things.
  11. f) Allow others to discipline your children.
  12. g) Have a code of conduct (golden rule) for your home
  13. h) Be consistent with discipline
  14. i) Do not exhibit favouritism among your children
  15. Monitoring – Child monitoring plays a vital role in parenting. Monitoring entails checking their rooms, phones, at all times.
  16. Parents should watch what they buy for their children and where they go..

Parental role in education – In the children’s performance at school (Parents have roles in enhancing academic performance of their children

  • Good Parenting – Parents must create a home environment that encourages learning and to express high expectations for their children’s achievement and future careers. Parents are the first teacher. They are role models.
  1. Parental Involvement in the education of their children – This have powerful impact on children attainment academically and lifetime.
  2. Supportive home – Provision of quiet place for study with children daily, Helping children in their homework, monitor out-of-school activities – set limits on television watching, reduce time of play, monitor the group of friends the child walk with, discussing the value of a good education and future career with children. Provision of an environment that is safe (keep your child free from physical, sexual and emotional abuse
  3. Provide for your children/child with basic needs – Purchasing school uniforms, Buying learning materials
  • Communicating with the school – There should be cordial relationship between the parents and the School. When schools work together with the families to support learning, children tend to succeed not just in school but throughout life, by attending school activities, teaching and counselling them (Titus 2:3-5)
  1. Having high expectations for the children
  2. Get to know your child Spend quality time with your child. Be approachable to your children. Communicate with them always. Communication bridge gaps.
  3. Have personal security because of the wolves around us.
  4. Parents as role model – Be a good example to your children. Model the way you want the children to be.
  5. Shun the In-loco-Parentis Doctrine – (in place of parent)This is the full responsibility assumed by teachers and other supporting staff. On this basis, teachers have a full right to mould the children’s moral character, assist them in mental and physical development, and cater for the fostering of the spirit of national consciousness in the stu.dents. parents agree to delegate school teachers the parental authority to control their children’s conduct in a manner which will be of the best interest to the children in the schools.

The doctrine of “in-loco-parentis” had been based on the assumption that by sending their children, parents agree to delegate to school officials the power or parental authority to control their children’s conduct in a manner that will be of best interest to the child. Giesselmann (1978) however points out that today, this situation is drastically changing. Parents now agree that when the concept originated, education was voluntary and personal. The parents voluntarily committed the child to the aut.hority of the School and the teacher, who usually spend the entire day with the child either in a classroom or school thereby developnd  something akin to a parent-child relationship with the pupil. Today, most teachers instruct children for only part of the day and have fewer opportunities to form class relationships in large classes and schools. Peretomode (1991) stated that Giesselmann further pointed out the critical fallacy that is inherent in the in-loco-parentis doctrine and made reference to the observations made by an American task force. The school-child relationship is intermittent with different adults involved at different times of the day and year; they often at superficial levels and for short periods of the time stayed with the child. Parents’ relationship of the other hand; ordinarily incorporates deep feelings of mutual love and affection. In fact, teachers stand in-loco- parentis only to the degree that they may act somewhat like a parent does only some of the time for the purpose of maintaining orders in our educational systems.

THE WAY FORWARD

  1. Love – love from the teachers and school owners to the students – (Psalms 127: 1) Children are heritage of God
  2. Parents should assume their duty – Home training/teaching –teach and divide house chores, Contentment, obedience, respect, how to lay their bed, how to say some words (sorry, please, thank you), love, self-control, discipline of the children (Prov. 22:1).

Parent should also be responsive to the needs of their children. Tips for this is to choose positive parenting at this information age because it engenders less parenting stress, both parents and children gain self-esteem and confidence when practiced. – I) focus on the reasons behind the child’s behaviour. Teach appropriate behaviours. ii) Be kind and firm. A firm voice communicate authority while a Stern voice conveys anger. III) Gentle discipline. iv) Take time-out. v) Be clear and be consistent

  • See parenting as intentional act. Parents should foster healthy interaction between them and their children. Sit with them and see what they are doing. This will encourage the parents to explain to the children that unwanted or inappropriate sexual comments, jokes or gestures towards towards opposite sex are never okay. Parents should also model good relationship at home. Parents must set boundaries and teach the children how to set boundaries. Children should determine where opposite sex can touch in their body.
  • Parents should help their children – Parents should guide their children. They should not allow the children to dictate for them.
  • Do the SWOTH analysis of your children. Parents should keep the children grow in the right direction.
  • Parents should shun all forms of domestic violence.
  • Parents should choose positive parenting.
  1. Moral instruction and teaching of social skills must be included in the curriculum
  2. Different Fora to be organized to train the parents on care/parenting of their children
  3. Parents should get information about the trends of things. Be ready to learn. Attend conferences, seminars, buy and read books. Know the language that your children use online and offline.
  4. The school and the Parents should not ignore the parent/teacher relationship. There must be collaboration between the two.
  5. Dealing with discipline issues decisively by parents
  6. Parents must guide their children in the right spiritual part. – Ensure they know that there is a God they can look up to in times of need and wants. They must know how to communicate to God.
  7. Students should make hay while the sun shines in their academic work.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, in spite of the good and the bad that technology has brought, particularly it’s role in  making our lives better by saving our important resources such as time and money, unification of the entire world by turning it into a global village which helped people to easily overcome their cultural, racial and continental barriers. Another advantage of the technology is the ease of connecting through technology and communicating online does have impact on culture locally and globally as more and more people choose to isolate themselves which is dangerous especially to our youths. Parents need to be up and doing to ensure that their children are protected from the negative effects of technology.

The parents must positively be involved in their children’s education, sacrifice and monitor their children in the use of technology.

 Again, in the trajectory of a child in the 21st century, all stakeholders in education have work to do.There is need to sow right values into our children for they are the leaders of tommorow. Our children need to learn many social/interpersonal skills that will help them to be well behaved both at home and in the society and assist them to stay on job as well as get ahead in future. Therefore, I call on the government, parents and teachers to collaborate together in bringing up Nigerian child. The parents must positively be involved in their children’s education, sacrifice and monitor their children in the use of technology. The government and the teachers’ role in bringing up all round or total child is also clamoured for. The education system must be looked into by the government. Moral instruction and soft skills must be included in the primary and secondary Schools’ Curricular. Schools should teach morals the same way the core subjects are being taught. Our education system must be a complete one which emphasis must not be laid on the cognitive domain alone. Since soft skills transcend certificate in the labour market in this 21st century, the foundation for producing well behaved child must be laid at both primary and secondary education.  Therefore, priority must also be given to the affective domain both at home and at school. These steps will contribute immensely to revamp the lost glory of our dear nation, Nigeria.

REFERENCES

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