She is a mother who proudly admits of being a concerned parent who keeps a tab on her 22-year-old daughter’s activities even though many youngsters would find it “intrusive”. “All I want to ensure is that she is safe and that’s what every parent should do,” says trainer and life coach Lata Shenava, in conversation with Samhati Mohapatra. A person who has worked extensively for child and family well being, Shenava who was in Chennai to attend the ThinkEdu conclave, spoke to us about the problems that ail childhood today. Excerpts...
You believe children today are more connected to the internet than humans. Who is to blame?
The first one to blame is the massive westernization of Indian culture and the second are parents. Parents have outsourced the two most important things — parenting and grandparenting — to drivers, maids and tuition teachers. While grandparents are sent to live in old-age homes, children grow up alone with strangers in air-conditioned spaces, make friends with smartphones and don’t learn resilience, whereas a child should ideally be around people, live in real life situations and learn to play with mud and water in the sun. The end product we get is ‘miniature adults’.
How is Mass Media affecting education?
It is the root of all evil. Children are exposed to graphic content that can cause a devastating impact on their psyche from such a tender age. I believe the first things to be banned should be porn and video games. Recently, a 11-year-old child of an acquaintance slit his wrist because his mother caught him watching porn. And parents have no idea what kind of content children are exposed through video games. There are games with adult content and titles of ‘how to get her into bed without making her pregnant’.
What would you say about the rampant suicides among children?
It is faulty parenting again! Parents today ensure that their kid gets all the comforts of life. But, when you make a child’s life easy, you take the struggle out of their life. It is this struggle that helps one deal with the problems in life.