By Nurfaizah Aqilah
Ever since COVID-19 hit Malaysia and the whole world, each and everyone used their gadgets more often than before. The conditional movement control order (CMCO) has become a situation that turned human beings slaves to gadgets and social media addicted.
The Sun Daily stated that “the report found Southeast Asians spent an hour more per day during lockdowns, while Malaysians spent 3.7 hours online (for personal use) pre-COVID-19, which spiked to 4.8 hours at the height of lockdowns, and now rests at 4.2 hours per day.”
Internet usage in Malaysia increased this year, as during various periods of movement control order (MCO), we turned to the internet to find solutions to our sudden challenges.
A variety of social media platforms are used to satisfy our social needs, entertainment, works, classes, and to release our tension because of being quarantined at home. Everything has become so easy because of gadgets.
A few days ago, my friends and I had a serious discussion about parents giving gadgets to their children at an early age, starting from 3 years old and above causing addiction to them.
Most of us believe that children nowadays become uncontrollable because they tend to become too dependent on gadgets. Same goes to parents who delegated the responsibility of educating their children to gadgets, to replace them. Children who interact more with gadgets cause them to lose an important social aspect, namely experience.
During the CMCO period which is still bound by the standard operating procedures (SOP), parents are worried about taking their children out to public places or allowing them to go to a neighbour’s house to play together. Then, they give gadgets to their children so that they do not get bored and that they are not disturbed.
Parents think that gadgets can control their children. But they forget that without proper monitoring, many problems could occur.
They can be vulnerable to cyberbullying, inappropriate age access to content or social problems that will inevitably endanger them in terms of social development and well-being.
Parents need to think about the developmental aspects of children even more during this pandemic situation. In addition to psychological aspects, health and daily needs, parents need to ensure that they are provided with social experiences.
They deserve the best education and gadgets cannot take over our job.
Besides, we can see that parents’ awareness is still low in ensuring that the psychological aspects of the website are browsed by children as a basic thing in allowing access using gadgets.
Parents should emphasise elements such as children’s social relationship with the environment, especially at home to ensure that they not only fill time with useful things, but can also form a human nature to appreciate the people around them and the environment.
The use of gadgets in positive ways can be achieved with the initiative of parents to help children balance their use with constant control and monitoring. We do not deny that children are now raised in the age of gadget literacy which makes them more curious, experimental and creative.
Gadgets are also one of the ways to prevent children from stress and depression at a young age. However, this should not be used as an excuse for parents to allow children to use gadgets without limitation.
Parents should take lessons from today’s teaching in order to shape the children’s life to be richer in experiences, and not just useful experiences at school, even at home.
Technology only helps parents instead of replacing parents and letting children be fully educated by gadgets. Take good care of the children, give them enough time, do not pamper them with gadgets and media, they should not be exposed at such fragile age.***
(This article is written as part of individual assignment series for Feature Writing class)