Jordan Shapiro: “You have to give a child a mobile phone before the age of 13, when they still allow themselves to be advised” | Infant and Primary Education

American Jordan Shapiro (Philadelphia, 44 years old), digital literacy expert and researcher at the Joan Ganz Cooney Center – a non-profit center for the creators of Sesame Street that encourages educational innovation through technology―, has traveled half the world promoting his book The New Childhood: Raising Kids to Thrive in a Connected World (The New Childhood: Raising Children to Thrive in a Connected World) popular in his country thanks to the accolade of the media and translated into eight languages. The title has many followers, such as the academic creator of the concept of multiple intelligences, Howard Gardner, who has said: “For those who lament what the generation of apps, Jordan Shapiro offers a timely and reassuring setting. “

The author, also a researcher at the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution and a professor at Temple University in Philadelphia, has just released a new book on how to be a feminist father: Father Figure (father figure). Shapiro spoke of both volumes in an interview with this newspaper during the WISE Education forum of the Qatar Foundation, to which this medium was invited by the organization. The provocative and theatrical investigator speaks with such passion that there were almost no questions.

Ask. Silicon Valley engineers do not want your children to become familiar with new technologies from a young age, unlike you.

Answer. There are not so many who do not want the technology, it is purely anecdotal. There is a good part and a bad part of almost everything in life. For example, sex is a beautiful thing, but it can become a problem and, therefore, it must be taught very early on in a very deliberate and appropriate way. And with technology, you have to do more or less the same.

Most technology didn’t exist when we were little and nobody knows how to talk about it

P. When should you start using it?

R. Most people first give a smartphone their children around the age of 13. It seems to me the worst possible moment. Everything related to appearance, popularity … is on mobile! Do you think your son sees him for the first time at 13? You have to do it before, when you can still give them guidelines, healthy advice. At the age of seven or nine a son says: “Yes mom, yes dad, I do whatever you tell me.” But as soon as he is 13 he tells you: “You don’t know what you’re talking about.” I am not saying that the child has an Instagram at three years old, but they must be taught soon. Most technology didn’t exist when we were little and nobody knows how to talk about it. So why do we listen to techies talking about parenting? When I read about Steve Jobs [no quería que sus hijos usaran tecnologías] I thought: this is the last person I would ask for parenting advice. Yes, I would go to a doctor, an educator, even a priest … But not someone who builds telephones.

P. Should you work with tablets in class? In some schools they are limiting its use because they believe that children commit more offenses.

R. We have a conception of the 19th century class. Before, nobody cared that people did not know how to write, until the printing press came. Many kings did not write, they had copyists. Jesus did not write. The idea that people have to know how to write is very new and it is fantastic, I am a writer. But I do not understand that you have to maintain a way in which you read and write 100 years ago and not adapt it to the current moment. It’s crazy. We forget that part of education is learning to socialize, to live in the context that has touched us. In the classroom they teach you to be quiet, to pay attention to the class, but they have to teach you to regulate the use of technology. Sometimes I tell my students to pick up the phone to learn a word, so that they know how to use it in an appropriate way. Which one is going to look at Instagram? Of course, but it is not a problem of technology, but of lack of attention.

There is nothing instinctive that makes women want to change diapers

P. Why have you now written a plea about feminist parents?

R. People have very rigid ideas of what it means to be a good parent. Most men want to do things right, but they don’t know what to do against patriarchy because they weren’t raised in that culture. They mean well, but they keep doing terrible things.

P. Like what? Society doesn’t help. In Spain, for example, many changing tables are missing in men’s bathrooms.

R. That is a good example and there are many. There is nothing instinctive that makes women want to change diapers. Does having a vagina make you better to run a washing machine? It is necessary to question what each one does and why. I have removed many diapers in my life. Tasks do not have to be distributed by gender and women have to feel comfortable.

P. Sometimes they are not?

R. No, they feel bad women for not doing everything. You have to end traditional stereotypes, such as that men are better at planning things, that they are more rational. So we are all happier. Ask me how better sex is for a feminist father.

The school is probably one of the most patriarchal institutions

P. Do you have to change yet to be a feminist?

R. Yes, a lot. I put an example. The other day I was losing playing table tennis with my children and I began to think: “Dad can’t lose, he has to be the winner.” And I said to myself, “Jordan, who cares? You don’t lose authority over this. ” But you think about it, because we have it very internalized. I went back to patriarchal patterns. It’s what you see in the media, how I grew up … I don’t think women say to themselves: “I have become a feminist.” Feminism is a methodology that you use to examine the world, your behavior …

P. And what role do teachers play? From an early age, girls believe that certain professions are not for them.

R. The school is probably one of the most patriarchal institutions, whether we want to believe it or not. I try not to be patriarchal in the way I teach.

P. And how is it achieved?

R. It means recognizing the limits and purposes of hierarchical authority. I don’t want to be a hippy Without authority in the classroom, I am in charge, but my role is not to be an arbiter of truth, but rather to use authority to integrate all types of voices.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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