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The need for character education in this digital age

By Dayo Oladele-Ilori

“See your ugly backside dangling out of your cheap dirty-looking swimsuit.”
“Something you should have kept away under a long robe.”
“All of those dark patches on one person’s …?”

And several other comments and emojis laced the post she shared with her picture at her friend’s beach party. Aduke got off her computer with so many pains, anger and tears.

“Am I really ugly?” she whispered beneath her breath as she assessed what she saw in the mirror. Not a single defense from her friends who got on the thread. She wept. She wailed. And all that was in her head was to get a blade.

With the astronomical growth in the adoption of technology as an application tool or career path, young people continue to transition into digital citizens with peculiar needs different from the local village where adult guardians, though limited, were still present. There is high spate of cyberbullying, addiction to video games, gambling and other unhealthy social vices.

Many more parents want their children in coding classes, robotics, machine learning and related tech courses because of future trajectory and career opportunities. However, how much have we prepared these nascent fledglings for the risk and challenges associated with the cyberspace? How equipped are parent and pseudo-parents with the demands of parenting a digital citizen? How much premium do we place on character education as a compulsory pre-requisite for an excellent career in tech?

There is a huge need to groom young individuals who will power the tech space with a reasonable strength of character, the discipline of critical thinking, required responsibility, and an understanding of associated consequences.

It’s beyond just learning how to code in different languages. It’s about promoting technology with a good sense of character education and social skills. It is important to hand the delicate fabric of tech to character certified individuals who are positively ethical and socially responsible to the society.

Today, adults have not been able to sustain the culture of oral tradition and cultural materials, shared as folklores, adage and songs that form the basis for the teaching of social intelligence and mental wellbeing in an informal fashion.

This important part of our lives, eroded by modernity is important to raise an emotionally aware, resilient, and resourceful “whole child” while allowing them learn tech skills such as python, UI/UX, sciences or even mathematics.

It becomes undeniably imperative for young people to be taught character education formally in a way that measurable progress such as quantitative and qualitative data are analyzed to substantiate the impact of the program on their overall success.

Raising a “whole child” requires unveiling the hidden curriculum of social values and collaborating with tech-driven approach to arrive at the desired standard. Not everything that counts can be counted!

Dayo Oladele-Ilori is the founder of WELEAD Network, a social enterprise that caters to the need of the Boy Child and Women. She is also the Growth & Strategy Lead at Brooks and Blake Ltd.

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