Raising Millennials in the Digital Age -Really a challenge or needless hype??

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“Each generation imagine itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it and wiser than the one that comes after it.”— George Orwell

Not much has been changed if we talk about generation gap. Struggles of adjustment and unpaired thoughts between parents and their children will always remain as an unsolved argument and as an evergreen flaming subject that’s travelling time from turning centuries. It’s a huge issue of concern predominantly for the identified Millennials who were born between early 80’s and late 90’s and either had completed crucial days of schooling as a kid or golden period of graduation as a teenager and endeavoring to nourish the upcoming generation that falls under the same time bracket. Being both, a kid and as a parent of this era I wouldn’t like a single chance to miss this panel discussion that was organised by YFLO Delhi in collaboration with Ansal University on intense topic of “Raising Millennials in the digital age atThe Lalit”, New Delhi. Hence, it was proved as a crucial debate for me that shook both sides of prospective- Parents and Kids. For better understanding of the changing culture of  environment from the kind of society where core attention was given more on education and sincerity for upbringing of the newbie’s to the friendly atmosphere providing as the platform to the current versatile technology geekers. Age gap, this is the struggle already everyone was dealing with and precisely its becomes more tough for the current generation who doesn’t want to lag behind in this fast pace trend because of the involvement of highly updated gadgets, hi -profile smart phones, daily changing technology of other electronic devices and uttermost the desire of sharing personal life in the cakey form.

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Sheetal Ansal (Trustee, Ansal University & past Chairperson, YFLO) was the event chair person for the discussion. Rajiv Makhni (group Managing Editor,tech NDTV) took the lead as the moderator. And the panelists of the session were Ms. Ankhi Das (Public Policy Director, Facebook, India), Ms. Kallie Puri (Vice Chairperson India Today group), Mr. Saket Modi (Ethical Hacker, Co-founder and CEO of young startup Lucideous), Ms. Vanita Uppal, (OBE Director, British School, New Delhi).

But then why there is any comparison between raising Millennials as a special term and teenagers of the earlier time?

Just because of the involvement of social media and the exposure to the world of facebook, filters and selfies. Coz of the another layer of pressure of being look good.This is a kind of rat race where social media score board of likes on their hourly updates is more important than the real talks with their family members. Family values are losing charm by opening up private life to the virtual world of superficial relationships. We are alienating ourselves and others around us that’s elevating the rate of depression, anxieties, elevating suicidal graph among the current generation. Slowly we are killing our human instincts of patience, listening, sympathizing with others. “Texting is substitution not replacement of actual voice.” –Vanita Uppal

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An interesting question was raised by Rajiv Makhani –“Has parenting been a failure?”

Parental opinion 

Personally I don’t advocate the point that current life is much tougher than the earlier one. No, its we who’ve done this, who are preferring pressure of staying updated and love to flaunt and indirectly teaching our kids by the same way of competition, by completely ignoring coin’s another side failure. Our thought process encircle around the term quantity instead of quality. Number of likes are same as number of marks, its about performance. We find appreciation in the terms of higher ranking and best presentation as in this manner our mind sculptured by our parents since childhood. So when in last 20 years technology has a drastic transformation that impact every aspect of life, parents find difficult to pace up with their kids. ” Actions speaks louder than likes.” Life is circulating around phone without which 5 mins are impossible for everyone, yes for everyone and parents have to understand this. They can’t make hype for the same actions of theirs repeating by their kids. As a parent of a toddler,even I sometimes found easy escape by allowing my kid to watch cartoon videos or to play games on my mobile phone. Before admission in any school today’s advanced babies know how to click pictures, swipe for passwords, making videos and plethora of other operations.

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Rules of Parenting

Engage them intentionally. We have to accept that digital world going to stay, we cant deprive them from smartphones- Ankhi Das . So parents have to stay well informed and guide them with some restrictions and rules about the cyber security where danger of it bullying in their own space along with the skills that must required- Adaptability. Both sides have to come forward and figure out the arguments over technology. It should be a collaborative effort with balance.

Understand yourself.  Parents need to check their attitude of over protectiveness or permissiveness. They should give both roots and wings as No one likes control not even a 10 year old kid- Vanita Uppal. Let them take the leadership, love your children unconditionally. Communicate with them, listen, emphasize more on EQ than IQ to manage them. Ask questions don’t force opinion, build mutual trust but also teach them that there is a life beyond digital world. Education plays important role, here parents and teachers have to work together to manage children.

Restrictions on self– Preach what you teach. First they have to maintain a disciplined decorum, not the confusion. Children learn from the actions of their seniors not from the lessons or the speeches so become their ideal.

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Responsibility of the Next Gen

On the contrary if we take things from younger one’s perspective, digital world is part of their life. They take selfies, love to flaunt and feeling contented while fetching likes. Picture perfect is a new mantra rather than cherishing small moments of life without lenses. They are born in the sea of information and doesn’t require to start from the scratch but beside studies this puts extra pressure on them. Multi tasking is good but aimlessly couch surfing distracts them from their goals for life. Instead of focusing on their own performance they love to stalk the life patterns of big shots. They are getting biased for urgent gratification and for sound growth and future security stabilization is a must.

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“Leadership is not about the next election, it is about the next generation”– Simon Sinek

To claim the leadership its a prerequisite to clear the confusion of the mind instead of diverting it, they should utilize the opportunity wisely from these sources of information. Here, the other core concern that was need to be considered was about the health hazards from the excess use of electronic devices not just physiological but physically and mainly to the eyes. Cell phones emit radio frequency energy that is really harmful for everyone. Cases of cancer and loosing eyesight are keep on increasing with the rate that cant be ignored that shows nothing comes free and without sound health this world is useless.

So overall, these problems must be checked by everyone, both kids and parents have to share the responsibility for dealing sensibly with the digital age. For sure you are also dealing with similar issues, share your worry and solution based on your experience.

Love,

Priyanka Singh

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