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Childhood experiences. Running down the street rolling old car tires while making a revving sound; staring at the television color bars, waiting for 4pm so the stations can start showing Sesame Street; playing football on the street with strangers I didn’t even know their last names, or which house exactly they lived in; devouring comic books in the thick of the night so that I can trade them the next day in my primary school black market; such were mine. The nostalgia they elicit sometimes makes me wish time travel was possible. My experiences, however, are far from what most children of today can boast of.
Today, there is 24-hour television with all sorts of entertainment.  There are iPads, notepads, and some others I am not even privy to. Video games are now more complex than Ph.D. thesis; there’s the new virtual world with images that would have sent any child in my time diving under the bed in horror; What about the online engagements, and dark web realities that anyone old enough to know when Buhari was president the first time will not be able to grasp. Truth is, the gap between the child today and the child 20 years ago feels more like 2000 years. Different schools of thought have argued over the benefit or disadvantage of being a child born in today’s world. Those who think it is good celebrate the ‘super intelligence’, and the unconventional engagement that is enjoyed by the child today. Those who think it is bad mourn the innocence and freedom the earlier generation enjoyed. They even go as far as saying that it is wrong to bring a child into this evil world of today, while the other side believes that only children born now can solve the challenges we face today. The truth is that the child born today is as much a child as the one born a hundred years ago. Whether they were born when horses took them to school, or when school is online. I think we make the mistake of judging the experiences of the children through the eyes of the adults. Today’s child is born into today’s world and is a child today. They no more wish to run the streets rolling tires than we wished to go to the farm during our own time. They love their own experience like we loved ours. They will make the best of it like we did ours. Yes, we would worry about them, just like our parents worried over us and panicked when they heard we created phones that could take pictures, but they will survive, they will thrive. Today I want to celebrate all the information age children out there, who can operate tech phones before they can recite the complete alphabets; who use words like ‘regurgitate’ at breakfast tables; who make video messages to presidents etc. I think that instead of us stressing out about all the evil we see in the world that they have to face, we should see the hope that their advanced nature gives us. You may not be able to claim you are the smartest person on the family table anymore, but be assured that the child across you is as much the child you were when you were their age. Happy children’s day!  

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This article was first published on 27th May 2017 and updated on June 1st, 2017 at 2:48 pm


Hi, I'm Kani

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