TheSpace: Is parental war on the digital age holding back our children?
Awhile back, I read a report by the Riyadh Economic Forum on future jobs in Saudi Arabia and the world and how that translates to the Vision 2030 reform plan.
According to the study, the vast majority of low-income-generating jobs will be replaced by robotic and artificial intelligence (AI). So, for example, in the future there will be no taxi drivers, cashiers, typists, telemarketers, travel agents, farmers and so on.
An article by McKinsey & Co., an American management consulting firm, said: “Half the activities people are paid to do globally could theoretically be automated using currently demonstrated technologies.”
The report, and my own research, suggest that the current jobs that will still be going strong in the future are ones within the medical field, and any involving emotional intelligence and creativity.
But the majority of jobs that will boom or emerge are those based on technological savviness.
From data and computer system analysts to robotic service technicians and genetic engineers all the way to landfill worm operators and mind-transfer specialists, technological competence seems to be the main requirement for success in future careers.
In this simple statement, my whole dilemma as a mother presents itself once again.
Nowadays, if we give our kids the choice to stay connected or not, they would choose to be online 24/7.
From PlayStation, Netflix and YouTube through to the video-sharing TikTok app, either watching or creating content, children now use the internet as their main source of information, knowledge, entertainment, and socializing.
While they continue to be sucked into staying connected online, we, as parents, are also getting bombarded with reports, articles, and findings on how much we should limit their use, control content, and be aware of the addictive and psychological side effects associated with the overuse of electronics.
Naturally, in response, the mama bear instinct to protect her cubs is unleashed. We start seeing electronics as the predator lurking around to take our children and we fight back by removing the predator and putting forward ideas to replace it.
Out of fear that the digital world will break our kids, we try to limit their electronic usage and push them toward playing the way we used to.
We get them board games, trampolines, bicycles while hiding away their PlayStation joysticks in a bid to get them offline.
And when parents do try to join in their children’s electronic world, they all too often get left behind.
After a conversation with my husband, I asked the question why are we surprised that kids do not enjoy the things we used to do? Also, why do we try to make them relive our experiences?
In comparing them to ourselves, are we trying to have them relive our memories or are we unintentionally replicating a whole generation and standing in the way of natural human evolution?
Whether or not the experiences we lived through as children served us well, we cannot deny that the generation gap between young parents and their children today is very different to the one we had with our own parents. So, perhaps it is all right for their childhood experiences to be totally different than ours.
This young generation is proving to be smarter, more resourceful and much more aware than we ever were.
While I like to credit the adjustment and knowledge in parenting methods and techniques to this phenomenon, in my opinion children’s vast exposure to the world through thei internet plays the biggest part.
Now, I cannot help but wonder, that in trying to fight their overuse of electronics are we actually holding back the development of their skills and characters to succeed in the future?
As I was thinking, I remembered the saying by Ali ibn Abi Talib (cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad) that we should not raise our children the way we were raised, because our children were made for a time different than ours.
So now the question is, how much electronics is too much electronics?
• Sara Eyad Khashoggi is a mother of four children, and an Instagram blogger. Currently a business development manager at WTL creative studio.