Today is the age of rapid digitalisation and children being very much into it. Digital technologies have profoundly changed childhood and adolescence. The internet and the means to access it, such as tablets and smart phones, along with social media platforms and messaging apps, have become integral to the lives of the children and youth around the world. They have transformed their education and learning, the way they make and maintain friendships, how they spend their leisure time, and their engagement with wider society.
Digital technologies cannot be considered as only beneficial or purely dangerous. On one hand, the most disadvantaged children could get a substantial benefit from extended access to information, gaining skills of digital workplace and having a platform for socialization and opinion exchange.
On another hand, internet increases children’s vulnerability to risks and harms, and the state of helplessness in front of potential hazards. However, prohibition is not an answer here, as it is not a solution in any area of life. With the real world facing the pandemic situation now, the digital world has become an oxygen provider for a normal living.
The big question is- how can technology enhance children's development in the 21st century? Computer technology, for example, offers young children a range of learning opportunities—from solving Math problems to listening to interactive stories, taking a photo, recording a story, creating a digital book, making music, and engaging in other age-appropriate learning activities . The internet has brought the whole world into your room. Kids can learn new things, find answers to their simple queries, and also learn new technologies.
Many children have access to smart phones and the limitless opportunities the digital world provides before they can walk or talk. Technology can be empowering for kids of all ages, with tools that help children learn in fun and engaging ways, express their creativity and stay connected to others. Students who are tech-savvy will also be better prepared for a workforce that will be predominantly digital. Digital technologies makes it smooth for those students who want to continue higher studies abroad.
Why not count on the positive effects of technology on children which are numerous like:- Creativity and freedom of expression; Socialization and relationship building; Independence and empowerment; Problem solving and perseverance; Entrepreneurial spirit.; Learning enhancement.; In-demand job preparation etc.
It is known that one in three internet users is younger than 18 years and 71% of 15–24-year-olds are online, making them the most connected age group worldwide. Young people who lack digital skills, live in remote regions, or speak a minority language are also being left behind in harnessing the opportunities that digital technologies can provide. These benefits include access to education, training, and jobs, which can help break intergenerational cycles of poverty, and access to news and information sources that can help protect their health, safety, and rights. The physical academic world has been shifted to the digital world in last two years. Without digital system the education system would have come to a standstill during these two years. So the biggest positive sign of children into digital world is their educational benefit. Competitive exams are also conducted on the digital platform. The Olympiad exams which are conducted by different organisations includes the Computer Olympiad or cyber Olympiad like ICO of EHF Olympia that provide the proper knowledge about the digital world along with academic knowledge. So students can appear in the ICO Olympiad alongside the Math, Science, English, G.K etc Olympiads and acquire proper digital knowledge which will of great help in their future studies. The Olympiads are talent search exams for students of class 1 to class 12 which are now conducted mostly in the online mode that gives the students a positive access to the digital platform.
Despite many issues, the popularity and use of digital technologies will continue to grow. However, an intergenerational gap exists in digital knowledge and literacy. Teachers and parents need training to teach digital skills and online safety to children. Schools are also an important forum for discussing cyber bullying, and anti-bullying programmes need to include online harassment.
Some children have never been online or have little access and are missing out on the benefits of connectivity. So, these children are definitely denied of the positive effect of digitalisation. It will always be better to allow children to access the digital world but with proper guidance of adults that will lead them to find a successful career in future.