PARENTRAP Children

All thanks to tech

Before going any further, I want to make something clear: I love technology. It’s the best thing in the world. I wouldn’t give up Fortnite, Alexa and cat memes for anything. Or the fact that I can listen to the latest Lil Nas X song as soon as it drops (have you heard ‘Holiday’ yet?), and that, if your parents are in a good mood or tired or on a work call, you can have extra cheesy pizza with a cheese-burst crust delivered to your door in 30 minutes. Technology makes all this possible.

But, technology can be a downer too. Especially now, thanks to this pesky pandemic. When you have online school, it’s not just online classes, but online classwork, online homework, online homework reminders and, ugh, online PTMs! There’s nothing you do (and nothing you don’t do) that escapes the all-seeing eyes of grownups.

Then and now

Like before, I could totally space out in Chemistry class and no one knew any better. But now, if I’m not paying attention, my teacher doesn’t find out, but my parents do. They’re always walking by the room and asking questions like ‘What’s the atomic number of Beryllium?’ Or ‘Who was the last Mughal to rule India?’ Thank god, parents aren’t allowed inside real school.

Before, I could come home and say ‘No homework today. It’s a free day’. Now, all my homework assignments go right into my folks’ email inbox. And they get reminders about when it is due and overdue. Plus, all my graded homework sheets go right to them with the feedback. Is there no such thing as privacy any more?

Thanks to technology, teacher-student confidentiality has been destroyed. Last week, my physics teacher sent a screenshot of my homework, which I’d written in a document called Annoying Physics Homework, to my parents. That was meant to be a private conversation between the two of us. Thanks teach. NOT.

Then there’s online PTMs. Before, my parents went for PTMs without me. I wasn’t there to listen to all the things my teachers were saying. Plus, if it was really bad stuff, my parents would usually cool down by the time they reached home. Now? Now, I get hauled into the room every time a teacher says something. ‘Did you fall asleep during Algebra?’ ‘Why aren’t you writing in your COVID-19 feelings journal?’ ‘Why haven’t you gone for online swimming class?’

If you had to do the breaststroke on a cold floor at 7:30 a.m., you’d bunk that class too. Anyway, my punishment for all my crimes? An extra class of online swimming every week.

I can’t wait to go back to school, and fall asleep with my eyes closed, and pretend to have lost my homework and get a normal punishment. I’m done with online school!

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 1:38:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/all-thanks-to-tech/article33210715.ece

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