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Education Turning Digital Worldwide

SHAILA on February 12, 2013

Apple’s Chief Executive, Tim Cook, claimed not so long ago that tablets will overtake personal computers in popularity. International Data Corporation reported that 52.5 million tablets were shipped last holiday season, compared to just 29.9 million units in 2011. Compare this to the worldwide shipment of personal computers at 89.8 million, 6.4% lesser than the previous year.

These figures also mean that 75.3% more tablets were shipped in the fourth quarter of 2012 and the decline in PC shipment is 2% more than the anticipated 4.4%.  

Rego - d4u.hu / Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Global Education Has Accepted Tablets

Tablets carry learning beyond textbooks, right into the heart of the most remote areas where education couldn’t penetrate due to lack of learning resources. It’s no wonder then that government in one nation after another is talking about the one tablet per child policy.

When such a policy was launched in Thailand, Yingluck Shinawatra, the Prime Minister, said, “This scheme is not only about handing out tablet computers to children. We would like to increase knowledge beyond textbooks for our children. That is our goal." Last year Thailand handed out 900,000 tablets and this year their Education Minister, Phongthep Thepkanchana announced a further purchase of  1.7 million tablets for allotment.

In February 2012, Turkey proposed a similar project. The government plans to begin tablet distribution in 52 schools initially and later cover nearly 40,000 schools around the nation. The Ministry of Education in Turkey plans to provide tablets that have built-n restrictions so that children cannot download age inappropriate content. 

This precautionary move is good, but is it enough? Unapproved content is just a small fraction of the multitudes of online dangers children are exposed to. Cyberbullying, identity theft, exposure to hate material, glorification of activities like drinking or taking drugs, and probably the most dangerous of all –meeting strangers that they have befriended online. Although this occurrence is rare, it could be extremely dangerous when it happens.

A study report published in the journal Pediatrics revealed that 30% of teens ended up meeting offline, people whom they initially met as strangers online, and whose identity they did not fully confirm. One High school student said she met a person who was an unknown online contact. She thought he was cool but later discovered he was extremely weird. Her parents had never spoken to her about the dangers of meeting unidentified persons whom you meet online. 

If you are a parent, it’s almost mandatory today to discuss internet safety and dangers with your children. Establish rules about usage of mobile devices in the family. Know the passwords and passcodes of your children’s profiles and phones.  As your children grow older, you can wean them off your supervision gradually.

Children typically rebel against restrictions. James Lehman says all emotionally healthy children test the limits their parents impose, and it's a right thing too. He adds, children will love their parents even when they set limits and impose internet usage restrictions. We at Mobicip take pride in assisting parents in striking a delicate balance between creating a safe environment and impinging on the child’s privacy and freedom.  

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