Many of us have either willingly, or unwilling heard about this new fad, wherein children as young as 5 are being enrolled for coding classes. Claims of children becoming coding geniuses are being force-fed to over-ambitious parents. Their advertisements are practically everywhere, from email inboxes to SMS to Social Media and so on! Their marketing strategy is so aggressive that at some point, their persistence will convince you that if your kid doesn’t code by the time he learns to speak a full sentence on his own, your existence as a parent is worthless!
While I have no qualms about businesses encashing in on the opportunities that came along with the pandemic, it’s not ok to give false hopes to gullible parents on the pretext of turning their kids into some coding wizard. These online platforms claim about teaching coding concepts to children as young as 6, and it is natural for parents to feel proud of their young ones learning to code. I am all for teaching new skills to children, but why do a child that young have to learn to code at that stage, is beyond my comprehension.
As parents, we should be aware of the consequences of so much screen time in such young children, especially when they are already dealing with online classes daily. The idea behind this may be a novel one but isn’t practical at all. Children, by default, are inquisitive beings. If yours has a keen interest in coding and programming, each and everything is available on the Internet for free.
Many child specialists believe that children need to play outdoors and enjoy their childhood. We should not push down the idea of “a good career” down their throats. Programming/coding can wait until the child is close to 15 or 16 years old. Moreover, they need to explore the various areas and opportunities in math, science, and other fields before they become “experts” in a particular field. Several studies have shown that every 2 years, 60% of our technical skills become obsolete, so any amount of programming learned 5 or 6 years ago are unlikely to be used after that time.
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Personally, I feel kids should spend a good amount of time outdoors, playing age-appropriate games, and having fun with their friends. They will anyway have ample time to study everything under the sun once they reach a reasonable age. Coding has become so popular only because parents are afraid that if their kids aren’t on the tech wagon early, they will be left off on the platform forever. Don’t fall for that guilt trip. Your kid isn’t an experiment lab, don’t let these businesses convince you that you, as a parent, have failed because you couldn’t enroll your kid to these factories that sell unrealistic dreams. Let them enjoy their childhood. Let them be.
Opinion Piece by Noopur Bharadwaj