Lovers of animated movies must have encountered this film called “The Croods”, which is set in a fictional prehistoric era known as “The Croodaceous” (a prehistoric period which contains fictional creatures), a character named Grug, a patriarch of the Croods is threatened by the arrival of a genius named Guy, who comes up with revolutionary new inventions as they trek through a dangerous but exotic land in search of a new home.

The Croods who live in a cave survive several natural disasters due to the stubbornness of the family leader – Grug, who refuses to let anyone leave the cave except for short periods to gather food. Eep, his teenage daughter, loves her family but frequently rebels against Grug’s boundaries. One night Eep sneaks out when she sees a light and encounters an inventive modern human boy named Guy and his pet “Beth” who have made a torch. Guy warns Eep of an impending apocalypse and offers to help her escape, but Eep elects to stay with the family. Guy leaves her a shell horn to blow if she needs help, but when Eep returns to her family, Grug and the others frantically destroy the horn out of fear of the “New”.

Being brought up by a risk-taking father and a cautious Mother, I developed a “calculated risk” approach to managing different issues. In most instances, relying on intuition, I could either take risks or be cautious. My upbringing has also shaped how I parent my children. Modern parenting has its own challenges; Having been brought up in a culture and era where children’s rights were a mirage, where expressing yourself verbally to your parents was deemed a treasonous offence, we are bringing up children who know their rights, quote their rights, and demand their rights. We are bringing up children in a space where parental commitments are threatened by competing priorities in quest of self-development and breadwinning ventures to make the family comfortable. We are bringing up children in an environment of constant and progressive technological, economic & social innovations which call for parental fluidity in ensuring that our children are not left behind.

As we celebrate the Day of the African Child this year, the theme “The Rights of the Child in the Digital Environment” calls for a candid conversation amongst adults, who like the Croods family head, are fearful of what the “New” brings, adults who are still stuck in the old and are afraid of adapting the new, adults who still believe that technology will ruin the child and make a mess of them, adults who are too conservative not to venture into the world of technology with their children, adults who do not want to keep up with technology so that they can guide their children, in the right way, the way that is straight and narrow. We live in a world where digitally speaking Information Technology (IT) is a prerequisite for any level of engagement. A world where those who are not proficient or lack proficiency in basic ICT skills become isolated by the day. As responsible adults, we must commit to NOT violating the rights of the child in the digital environment by focusing on:

  1. Accessibility– ensuring that children have access to gadgets & internet.
  2. Safety– invest in learning what controlled access looks like and commit to educating our children on responsible usage of gadgets and the internet.
  3. Availability– as children grow, they will be curious with questions and may be tempted to deviate from what you have taught them! Be available to respond and guide them.

Ultimately, in the Croods, Guy, the innovator, is accepted and assimilated into the Croods family and guides them to a successful conclusion. A question to ponder, are you the rigid family head in the Croods, the rebellious daughter or the innovator?

Contributor: James Mulandi, Manager of Partnership

2 Responses

  1. Quite an interesting read. Children have a right to gadgets and the internet but it is up to us to provide guidance and safety.

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