BY EVANS MATHANDA
Back in the day, family unity was pivotal in most African families.
At times you could not distinguish between cousins as they would socialise like they are from the same parents.
Words like extended family were alien. Today, technology and hardships have changed the way people relate.
Colonisation, technology and globalisation have transformed the African society into silos.
Family socialisation remains critical in our present day society despite that it might vary from one society to another.
Some research findings revealed that technology and media is slowly taking over the role of socialising the new off-spring in families.
Every new member of society is born a tabula rasa, without built-in mental content, and therefore all norms and values come from experience or perception especially through primary socialisation.
Sociologist Talcot Parsons defined socialisation as a lifelong process of inheriting and disseminating norms, customs and ideologies, providing an individual with the skills and habits necessary for participating within his or her own society.
It all starts with the family.
Today’s children have unprecedented access to modern technology.
However, the way technology is used has raised lots of questions on whether children should be given free access to technology or not.
Inasmuch as we should embrace change and adapt to new technology, there should be ways in which some websites and applications must have an age restriction in Zimbabwe.
There are some children who are privileged to spend most of their time using technology.
The vast majority of them have access to the Internet, cell phones, smart phones, video games and many more.
Recent evidence raises concern about effects on academic performance.
There is a belief that technology has reduced the quality of education since the young generation use their gadgets for other purposes and not academic research.
Some recommendations have been made to increase the benefits and reduce the harm that technology can have for the young generation.
The development of norms and values in socialisation skills in the new members of society is another critically important consideration in the conversation around age-appropriate use of technology.
Despite that some say technology has done more harm than good in the growing stages of children, these skills are often overlooked by parents, who may not see or understand how much technology tools can interfere in their child’s development.
The demands of human life and women empowerment are the major reasons why parents no longer have enough time to spend with their children.
This has, however, curtailed the quality of primary socialisation.
But nowadays, Netflix has become the “biological” parent to some children even though family socialisation is inevitable.
Covid-19 restrictions brought about some notable changes despite that the virus ravaged the global economy.
Apart from social distancing and other factors, Covid-19 lockdowns revived primary socialisation.
Since the advent of industries and calls for women empowerment, primary socialisation became one of the duties done by domestic employees popularly known as (house maids).
During the period of lockdown, some children enjoyed both family time and technology as agents of socialization.
But the definition of a family remains debatable on what classifies a family although the nuclear family is considered a standard family size by many.
Apart from other roles, primary socialisation and the stabilisation of adult personalities is regarded as the key role of the family in society. But technology advancement seems to have taken over.
It’s easy to use new applications and software to learn new things.
With Google and YouTube child development has been transformed into a new shape.
Some parents have been against their children using new technology gadgets saying it does more harm than good.
However, technology is changing processes and content to the extent that children today are immersed in a world that abounds with information.
The increasing amount of time children spend on electronic modern technology has raised questions about the future of children.
Appropriate technology is now an integral part in many aspects of our lives. It is more prevalent in many sections of our culture.
But what impact does it have in the upbringing of the new members of society?
Some have brought up questions like does the abundance of technology have an effect on the newer generations.
Technology plays a pivotal role in child development or socialisation of younger generations in our present day society.
Technology is a key factor in how people develop social norms and values.
In short, technology like physical social interaction makes us who we are.
Social media is having an adverse effect on the socialisation and social interaction of the younger generations.
This inverse relationship between age and technology can reveal the importance of social media and how human beings are moulded, or socialised.
However, the harmful effects of technology on children remain a topic for discussion.
There are many published articles on the subject.
- Evans Mathanda is a journalist and development practitioner who writes in his personal capacity. For feedback email: email@example.com or call 0719770038 and Twitter @EvansMathanda19