Muslimah, Update Your Technological Skills
There is no doubt that the world of cyberspace and the internet provide many benefits not only for adults but also for teenagers and even children. Children who cannot yet read are able to use tablets or laptops which are connected to the internet for playing games or watching movies. It can be said that almost all of the information that we want to know can be found via the internet. Parents, teachers, professors, businessmen, and employees of all lines of work must keep up with technology in this digital era, because if they do not, they will miss so much of the information, news, networks, and business opportunities which can in effect have a detrimental impact.
Many Muslimahs or Muslim women, however, do not update their technological knowledge. They do not realize that technology can help, but also harm the development of our children. We know only a little of social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest without understanding their real functions and the effects that can be devastating for our own security and family.
Based on a small study in Chile recently, which may represent most parents, it has been concluded that 30-40 % of parents were taught by their children about how to use computers and the internet. It was also mentioned that teenagers who came from poor families were more willing to teach their parents about modern technology than those from wealthy families. A mother was also mentioned as being more willing to be taught by the children than a father.
The above studies show that many children are much ‘smarter’ in terms of technology than their parents. Is that good news? Parents, and this could be because of their busy work load for earning a living and taking care of household chores, only have a little time to learn in comparison to the children. You can imagine: at least 6 hours of children’s time is spent in school where they can interact with friends and teachers to exchange information about the latest technology or gadgets. In today’s times even some school work (especially for higher grade children) is sent by email, require that the child submit an assignment via email, or answering a question about school work will be more easily accessed through browsing on the internet .
If we as parents do not want to keep up with technology it is possible that we might let our children get mired in a wealth of false information, or become influenced by the wrong crowd. The wrong crowd in cyberspace can trigger unwanted events such as victimization by child predators, cyber-bullying, and privacy violations. When children get to experience stress and depression due to mockery from their friends, for example, this may cause teen suicide, murder, kidnapping, rape, or drug use, as we have heard recently. Teens do not realize that an invitation to meet with someone who is only known through the virtual world at a place after school is a very dangerous act. Naudzubillahi min dzalik. May Allah (SWT) protect us from such tyrannical actions.
There are so many websites that may be beneficial for us to read for becoming technology literate parents. Some of these websites are:
- Center on Media and Child Health (www.cmch.tv). The family Center for Media and Child Health educates the public on the media’s effects on children’s health.
- Net Family News (www.netfamilynews.org). Net Family News is a nonprofit public service organization providing weekly “kid-tech news” for parents and educators in more than 50 countries.
- Family Online Safety Institute (www.fosi.org). The Family Online Safety Institute works toward online safety for kids and families by identifying and promoting the best practices and methods through public policy, technology, education, and special events.
Let us update our technological knowledge so that we can figure out how to safely take advantage of the virtual world.
Title Many Parents Learn Online Skills From Their Tech-Savvy Kids by Robert Preidt