SOCIETY TALK

What future holds for tech-savvy kids

Some can download, instal and play games even before they can write

In Summary

• All it takes to change a society is the determination to think different

Child uses smartphone
Child uses smartphone
Image: COURTESY

Early Monday evening, as I scrolled through the trending topics from across the world, I was perplexed to read that India had banned 59 apps from China, one of them being TikTok.

The Indian government claimed the targeted apps posed a threat to national security. Whether the statement is true or the move could be considered as a power standoff between the two countries, the point it is the people who are missing out.  

A couple of weeks ago, I joined the popular social network, TikTok. TikTok is a video-sharing networking service that allows users to create and share short videos. People can add graphics, music and all sorts of audiovisual material to make their videoscreative and entertaining. In retrospect, I found the app much like flipping channels on TV: watching multiple things but never really committing to anything.

 
 

However, my interest in the app was not because of its rising popularity. Rather, I was mesmerised by the immense talent (especially) the younger users portrayed in their videos. From gamers, CGI content creators, photographers, dancers, comedians and so much more. In them, I foresaw a future of abandoned office desks and empty skyscrapers.

 

I realised that the future of these kids (and I use this word without condescension) is infinite. I reckon their future will defy the societal norms of today. This generation is not made to sit behind desks, working 8-to-5 jobs and taking orders from middle-aged men. These young people will redefine the working class.

Consider this; these kids were raised in a completely different age than the older generations. They were born into the technological era and were basically raised by electronic nannies.

They could use smartphones before they could write. Technology is their language. The Internet is their playground. My seven-year-old nephew can download games, install them and co-play Internet games with his friends, yet he does not speak a word of English.

As millennials, we grew up being told that the world was our oyster. That we could travel anywhere and achieve anything we put our minds to. The younger generation dreams beyond the confines of the physical world. They exist in a multi-dimension universe and envision a future beyond our wildest dreams.  

It might be hard to imagine for those of us born into these pre-existing society models, but imagine as we read history books and we saw how other generations disrupted the social order to make history. If we flip through the pages of history, we see how revolutions created opportunities and how wars overturned hierarchies; we know that all it takes to change a society is the determination to think different. The kids of today are not apologising for being different.

Of course, the biggest threat they face are the imposed values enforced by the fossil generation that mentally lives in a different era. The laws that were enacted during colonial times are expected to regulate the children of today. Countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Russia have arrested and charged numerous social media content creators for besmirching the moral code. 

 

Even in Kenya, government branches like the DCI are known to keep a keen eye on popular social media users or influencers. The more we cage them behind the steel bars of outdated principles, the more they will rebel.

 
 

We always say “children are the future”, but whose future are we really referring to? The legacy we imagined or is it the future of burdening them with national debt? If children are the future then we need to allow them the freedom to envision, to invent and to create it all on their own. The future should be determined by those who will live it.