Why Caribbean parents aren't raising the next Mark Zuckerberg

BY NERISSA GOLDEN

Sunday, July 09, 2017

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It's 2017 and I swear babies come out of the womb knowing how to handle a smartphone and hack your encrypted iPad. Can't figure out how to use filters on Instagram or add a doggy face to Snapchat? Ask a five-year-old.
But are we preparing our children to not only manipulate someone else's creation but develop their own? Here are a few reasons why Caribbean parents are not raising the next Mark Zuckerberg.

1. Not answering their whys

It was rude to ask why after being given an instruction from an adult and in some places, it still is a no-no. Children are naturally inquisitive and we need to answer their questions and use today's technology to help them explore alternative points of view even more.

2. Not encouraging their participation online
The internet is not something to be feared and we are creating voyeurs when we do not allow them to start their own conversation around what matters to them. Vloggers are popular but how about helping your child set up their own vlog around things that interest them?

3. Consuming and never creating

Social media is free to use but can be leveraged to create income. How about tying their access to social media to them creating content to share with others? I have a thing about paying for a device that is three times my rent and it not make me any money.

4. Pushing reading material that is older than their grandparents.

How many schools have reading lists which includes authors from their village and books written after 2000? Children need to see themselves and versions of life that fit who they are becoming. Insist that schools upgrade the reading material and purchase books for them to encourage the habit.

5. Thinking being number one in academics is good enough

There are millions of professional students with double master's degrees and PhDs who are looking for jobs today. We still celebrate kids who come out on top and discard others that don't test well. Understanding your child's abilities and providing the tools for them to excel in their way is vital to building children who will take on big challenges.

6. Discouraging entrepreneurship and encouraging professions such as doctors, lawyers, civil servants and such.

7. Not investing in the creative arts We exist in body, mind and spirit. The arts connect all our parts and help us to find hope, meaning and joy in what would otherwise be very boring, stressful lives.

8. They do what they see us do. Parents are consuming only. We're tired from our three jobs necessary to keep up with the Joneses and possess no energy to do more than flip the TV remote or spy on Facebook. We are not learning either. Children are more likely to copy you - good or bad. Let them see you do something new and stretch yourself in new areas of life.

9. The blame game
They see us complain about what everyone else is not doing rather than solving problems.

10. Waiting on permission
If they believe that they need permission from some greater outside force to offer a solution then we are failing them.

Let me hear your thoughts in the comments.

Nerissa Golden writes on entrepreneurship, leveraging technology and media to change lives and communities. She is a six-time author, now fusing business strategy with romance in novels. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
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