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As the world celebrated Children’s Day on November 14, NT KURIOCITY looks at the kind of atmosphere that today’s young people are growing up in

A better world for children

RAMANDEEP KAUR | NT KURIOCITY

We constantly read about all the dangers to children in this day and age, from kidnapping of children, child labour, to the bad influence of the internet, and the growing number of addictions. But alongside this there is no denying that with advancements in technology, their lives are certainly easier as compared to back in the days. But is it necessarily better?

Head of the Department of English, S S Dempo College of Commerce and Economics, Cujira, Aditi Barve believes it is. The only hitch, she says is that older generation is causing a lot of confusion in the minds of children. “For example, we teach them that money is not important and also teach them that they should educate themselves to earn money. We feel that our children are not safe nowadays, but we forget to acknowledge that today’s children can speak and reach out to their parents, teachers, government, NGOs,” says Barve.

All that is needed, she feels, is the need to teach children how to be happy without causing trouble to another being, thereby making the world a much safer place for our children’s children. “Another pertinent thing that our children should practice is gratitude,” she adds.

Architecture student Avin Anant Pai Kane who hails from Goa Velha, further also agrees that unlike in the past, when children were forced to do what their elders decided, today they have a voice of their own. And this is important, he says. “Sometimes children have better ideas than elders, just like little Krishna had a better idea to perform the Govardhan Pooja instead of doing the Indra Pooja that the elders performed. Though he was the Lord himself, I always feel he enacted this to show how even a small child’s ideas should be considered,” he says.

Also highlighting the positives, Ananya Khandeparkar, a student of Sunshine Worldwide School, Old Goa states that today kids have better access to education. “Nowadays children are also more knowledgeable but at the same time they are at higher risk because they are exposed to misleading stuff causing them to make wrong choices,” she says. Khandeparkarfurther adds that the openness of parents in discussing matters with their children also contributes to making things better.

Eric Michael Siqueira however believes that each generation faces different problems. “With the rise of automation and widespread education the current generation won’t face manual labour as much as the previous generations. But, they will face the problems of cybercrime and internet addiction like never before,” says the student of Sharada Mandir School, Miramar. “The mindset of today’s generation has also greatly changed; the worldwide climate strikes this year have been led mostly by the younger generations. Ideas of equality and secularity have also become prominent, with social media making it much easier to spread your message,” he adds.

A youngster from Mapusa, Ishan Kholkar meanwhile looks into India’s history, stating that the country has come a long way since Independence in terms of standard of living, food security, health and education. He says: “We constantly hear about the hardships that our previous generations faced in their childhood including periods of emergency, full-fledged wars with Pakistan and China, economic and political instability as well as numerous insurgencies. Today’s generation is very lucky to be born and brought up at a time of relative economic prosperity and socio-political stability.”

The current generation, he adds, is reaping the fruits of hard work of an entire educated generation post-independence. “Today’s generation has facilities and access to knowledge and internet which opens the doors to unimaginable opportunities if used the right way,” he says. He however acknowledges that the climate issue remains a problem. “The only problem the future generations will face which we didn’t would be an inhospitable climate if we don’t indulge in sustainable development,” says Ishan.

Much has also been said about how the way children played has changed over the years. And Chandor-based, businessman, Abhay Kudchadkar elucidates on this. “Children of the past created their own forms of play that didn’t require costly equipment or parental supervision,” he says.

Rita Paes, a senior citizen from Tivim also makes the same point. Back then, she says, they would do a lot of outdoor activities whereas children these days like to sit at one place with mobile phones in hand. “Today, we also hear about inflation. I never knew what inflation was because we grew our own produce. We also never back answered our parents but I’m shocked how children these days do it without thinking twice,” says Paes.

And while children are certainly living in a ‘knowledgeable’ world, strengthened their social and economic outlook, Kudchadkar adds that it is also “a world where education is not only a necessity but a challenge and an asset for a cut-throat competition.”

Parents, he further adds, work hard to give their children a childhood in which they are protected, healthy, and educated, and the opportunity to fulfil their vast potential. But, he feels that in the end, children will grow up with the whole world at their finger tips, and they will have to learn how to find the balance between their cyber and real worlds.

On the positive side, he says, children have also a lot of role models to look up to today. “With the start-up culture, today’s children can look up to role models like Sachin and Binny Bansal from Flipkart, Ritesh Agarwal from Oyo, Bhavish Agarwal from Ola, Deepinder Goyal from Zomato, who have become billionaires in their twenties,” he points out.

And while assistant teacher at Dr K B Hedgewar School, Cujira, Neelangi Shinde also agrees that children today can get everything easily, she also cautions that all this information needs to be utilised properly. “Children can find new dimensions of education and new ways of self-reliance can be found. If they use new techniques in the right way, I feel that this period is very encouraging and beneficial,” she says.

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