The public school year began in New York City this past week with a yet unreported number of seats remaining empty due to the concern parents have over the system and their transferring their children to the seemingly safer, better run, more successful in teaching the 3 R’s, parochial, charter and other private schools. Moms and Dads, known to the Department of Justice as “Domestic Terrorists,” have quite a responsibility in seeing to it that no matter how bad the schools are in which their kids are enrolled, they themselves, have the G-d given duty to shoulder in to see that their wards have a better chance of success in their classrooms.
We must all recognize that children of all economic levels are getting too much distracting screen time. Just a few years ago, that statement conjured up only images of TV viewing. No more. Now it’s the I-Pads and cell-phone images that disrupt children from learning, socialization, maturing as individuals and even contribute to mental and physical problems. Years back the boob-tube was to blame. Now, still within the throes of the Covid pandemic, young children have become obsessed with their phones, tablets and laptops. It will be hard to reteach them to go back to their textbooks and math problems.
Parents have to wake up and assert their responsibility to shake their children away from these objects of distraction. Make them understand that school is back. Let them explore the outdoor world again. Social activities, play-dates and required study and homework times are now essential for their growth. There’s life back again for them. Sure, it’s going to be hard to remove their concentration from their screens but you’ve got to seriously restrict these “pandemic era” habits of isolation. It’s no laughing matter when you see families eating out at restaurants or at family functions, with each member glaring into his/her phone screen. No verbal or physical communication. People, especially kids, do not speak anymore. They use their fingers. We even still see voiceless people wearing masks walking in the streets or even while driving. This hampers verbal and facial communication. This is ever more dangerous for kids who learn to speak and emote, watching and emulating others during discussions.
Recent test scores among 4th and 5th graders indicate a learning loss of more than 2 years in math and reading. For too long and now we know, for no medical reason, schools were closed, leading to a scholastic and sociological decline among our children. And it’s not over yet. We’re getting warnings from the Centers For Disease Control that another Covid-like pandemic may hit. And if so, again, our school kids will bear the brunt of teacher union demands to close down the schools, leaving millions of “their” students out in the cold, being taught by the useless zoom methodology. That means remaining at home with the fatal attraction of I-phones and I-pads to distract from learning.
Our suggestion, as parents to parents: Use this precious time to post schedules for your kids, giving adequate time for study, homework, even moping around and most importantly, get them off the screens to go out and about, meeting friends, socializing and having fun with other humans. They’ve been punished enough already. Time to get serious and become “parents” again.