Date: Jan 6, 2018
Yesterday, I went to the Parent Engagement program in SST with Jay. It is about Digital Citizenship. The seminar talks about how parent can help the teachers and kids to manage the new digital age. Things like, parental control, gaming, social media usage, etc.
A full 3 hours seminar on these topics and it is enough to show the new concerns from the educators towards the kids handling learning device (i.e. MacBook, smart phones and smart touch pad).
One of the key things is gaming. How many students actually pay games. Well, after looking at this stats, I am a bit skeptical about the data. Only about 50% of the students playing games? And the other half “NEVER” play? I guess the realistic number should be much higher, what do you think? Hahahaha.
As a parent of two kids, and what I observed on the bus or MRT or shopping mall or restaurants, etc. I am very confident to say that the “NEVER” has to be in less than 20% region. As long as you have a smart phone in your hand, it is very hard to say you don’t play games on your smart phone. Hahahaha
I think definition of “NEVER play” must have mixed up with “Seldom Play”. Hahahaha
The seminar also introduced us a few games, social media apps that is popular among the SST students according to the survey.
Wow, I had never heard of Brawl Stars before.
According to what I hear from the teacher, I think it sound fun.
PUBG is still around. And only yesterday I know what is the meaning of PUBG. Player Unknown Battle Ground. I am really “Sua Gu” sia.
There is also this CSGO. Counter-Strike. Wow, the Microsoft PC game back in the 2000s. Still around har.
The funny teacher also assured parents that we don’t have to worry about CSGO. Because playing CSGO on MacBook sucks. As MacBook are not build for playing high graphics intense games. Hahahahahahaha
Here are my thoughts.
1. I downloaded the Brawl Stars immediately. I want both Jay and Kay area exposed to Brawl Stars. But teach them not to be addicted to it. But let them play enough that they learned enough to talk about the gaming experience to their peers.
2. When I say I downloaded the game, I meant, I downloaded it to their iPad. They don’t bring iPad to school. I don’t install it on their “School Phone”. If you can afford it, you can give your kid a “School Phone” usually is called a communication device, where I want to locate where is my son, that is the phone, if my son wants to Whatsapp any one, that is the phone. School phone.
3. The School phone will never have these popular titles games. Simply because school phone is a communication device. If you must install the game on it, install word game, scrabble, Soduku, Chess, Chinese Chess, Solitaire and even Go (围棋). These are the only games that is permitted to installed on their “School Phone”.
4. In my house, we always very skeptical about the WiFi influence on kids’ brain. So, in their sleeping room, a.k.a bed room, there is no Electronics such as TV or computer or iPhone/Smart Phone charging point. Certainly no WiFi Assess Point. So, all computer, iPad, iPhones are in the Study room, for charging, etc. All laptop are kept in Study room too. So, when they go sleep, you know they really sleep in peace. We have practice this since day 1 they own their phone.
5. Beside the “Study Phone”, if you can afford it, you give them an iPad or another “Gaming Phone”. Now, that phone, you can install lots of games. Whatever games they wish to play, you can install. But make sure you also playing with them together. It’s fun!
6. The only condition of the “Gaming device” is when there are friends around, you don’t use it. Because when seeing friends outside, you want to talk to your friends, play card games on the lunch table, etc. Not using your phone.
7. Beside the “Study Phone”, the “Gaming Phone”, the iPad, you may consider to let them have an e-book, i.e. Kindle for book reading.
8. Gaming console, such as Nintendo Switch is nice too. But that is consider as “Friends Gaming console” where you play Overcooked, Mario Karts, Super Smash Bros, Mario Party, etc with many of the friends.
9. Since day 1 they own the phone, I explained to them, the phone belongs to them, but parents have to right to monitor it. But we seldom have to go into that stage to dig out the log files, where they browse, what they watch on YouTube, etc. As you need to “trust” the kids by constantly teaching them what is the right and wrong things. Teach them from young, how cyber bully bully other people and make people cry. Teach them what sort of criminal acts are there associates with smart phones, Internet.
10. I told Jay, I am not going to turn on Parental Control, because, we give trust him. But teach him, if the trust is broken, then, he must face consequences. Make sure kids know what parent can do, will do, to make things right. I do not want to let Jay grew up going to Jail like that where at all time, people monitoring you. Kids should have the right to grow up on its own.
11. Of course, I told Jay the history about Internet. When I was involved in buildings the Internet in Singapore, how I involved with the first multiplayers gaming servers in Singapore, how I build the huge IRC chat groups last time. These info will let him know Don’t Play Play, your daddy is actually quite good in “Interneting”. Hahahahaha
Finally, kids should have very good childhood. Although they are now going into Secondary school, they should have fun time in school too. So, we parents have to help to shape our kids to think about how to obtain such happiness by constant counseling, constant pet talks with kids. Putting restrictions, setting up parental control, etc does not necessary raise the kids awareness about what we want them to become. Sometimes, these Parental controls and rules may cultivate rebellion kids. Once the kid is in rebellion mode, it is very hard to undo it. Only do it when it is “Bo-pian” situations.
As for me, I am still letting the kids have enough gaming time before sleep. They still sleep around 9-10am. They can play whatever games they wanted to play. As long as they can give me a reason. Talking to peer about the game can be a good reason. As long as the game does not creates any addiction behavior I will be fine with it.
My method sometimes may not be right, but to me, it is sufficient. And most importantly, parent also have to take responsibility on their actions too.
Good Luck to parents and all kids in the transition to the new digital age.
We cannot say “Last time we don’t have this, we dont do this and that”. Every one is doing it nowadays, so, we have to embrace it. If you wanted to tell your kids don’t use phone when lunching or dinner, look at yourself, make sure you don’t do it too before you yelled at them. It all about the reflections. Monkey see Monkey do. So, remember that.
I myself also constantly learning how to embrace this new digital age.