Understanding influences of highly polarized politics on children
One understands the environment as he or she sees it. If the family or someone in the family indulges in politics or is deeply involved with the political narrative of that party, the children start to watch that with great interest. Children fourteen years of age and above are often drawn into politics. This article seeks to analyze the negative influence of highly polarized politics on children.
Introduction Children of any age understand the social environment around them quite well. In the rural parts of India, the influence of the local media in the form of print media and YouTube channels is stupendous, to say the least. This is fine as long as it stays within limits. However, if the limits are crossed, parents should intervene to bring about the required behavioral changes. The teachers also need to chip in and arrest the negative trends.
At a function that I attended, some of the youngsters picked up the comments of an older person and succeeded in supporting it with data through information they had gleaned through social media. After a while, when I interacted with the youngsters, it did seem that they were concerned in the positive direction, about the various socioeconomic development aspects of those who were classmates, particularly in the private schools, and their friends from the Government schools. Since the Government schools received some sort of support from the public, the concerned Government school had even smart classes. The children were highly IT savvy and their knowledge of current affairs was commendable.
While the aforesaid scenario was quite alright, parents and teachers should a) Make political narratives stay within limits b) Curb the political ambitions of children in the school's final stage c) Enable an apolitical analysis of socioeconomic realities d) Enable greater understanding of larger implications and e) Never allow the formation of radically pronounced views.
Make political narratives stay within limits The aforesaid instance was just one instance of what happens in any social gathering in the metro cities. Children around 15 years of age have access to the internet and are politically so much aware. However, when the narratives start assuming dangerous propositions and might even lead to violence, parents and the teachers need to step in. It later transpired that the children are always engaged in conversations with two teachers who have highlighted in a non-political manner the finer details of every socioeconomic development. However, since the positive developments are directed at a very popular and highly dynamic leader of a particular party, the discussion seemed to become overly polarized. This is where the role of the parents and teachers becomes important.
Curb the political ambitions of children in the school final stage Young minds get distracted in the school's final stage. The children are confused and at least one said that he would rather join one particular party and explore becoming a politician!! The father has big ambitions for the boy and would like him to become an engineer, as the boy is good at mathematics. Politics is not a noble profession in India. As yet. Perhaps because it has given the impression of having anti-social elements involved. Hence, parents should be careful and the teachers should also do their duty.
Enable an apolitical analysis of socioeconomic realities Let children be taught about good development initiatives in India. For example, though the Vande Bharat trains are quite costly and only the rich or the upper-middle-class can afford the travel by these trains, the fact remains that this signals the advent of advanced technology. The massive highways built by the Government of India authorities also mean much to the poor as well. For example, the man who drives a moped and sells vegetables in residential localities is doing a great job. He saves precious time and money for so many people, who would otherwise spend petrol going to the shop and also their time. Amazon and Flipkart have already made much of an impact on Indian lives. And today, the Indian versions are picking up as well. Online payment platforms like Paytm are making life easy for millions. Today, there are many no-interest schemes to buy smartphones and tablets, and so on. Everything has changed. Hence, there should be an apolitical analysis of every single socioeconomic development.
Enable greater understanding of larger implications What do the recent developments mean to India as a nation? How has it become the fastest-growing economy in the world? What difference does being a democracy, and the world's largest democracy in terms of population, mean to the world? Where does the rich tradition of mindfulness and meditation, which is part of our psyche, meet the highly dynamic developments in the West? We should teach all these positive developments to children, particularly those in the school's final stage.
Never allow the formation of radically pronounced views Radically pronounced and rather caustic views should not be allowed to form in the minds of very young children. Older people who may be aligned with the radical views of their favorite political party need to exercise caution when dealing with young minds. Parents and teachers need to mould children with open-minded views, and not radical views.