Is modern technology, making children better people or destroying their social skills?
Former Delta College student and author Sofia Sher, touched on the subject in her new children’s book “Tobias and His Digital Friends.”
After some time observing behaviors of other in public places, Sher noticed a trend.
Everywhere she went there was a of lack of communication in families.
Sher said she would see parents and children engaged on mobile devices more often than with each other.
An idea sparked after seeing the same repetitive thing on a daily basis.
The book is about a young boy, Tobias, who receives a new smartphone for his seventh birthday from his parents.
His parents wanted to reward Tobias as well as gift him exactly what he has been wanting.
His parents felt this was a nice gesture on their part and didn’t see the consequences that would come from the choice.
“It got irritating to me,” said Sher. “[Children’s’] lives were being dominated by what their parents gave them.”
It doesn’t take long before Tobias begins to have negative changes in his behavior.
For example, dropping his grades, distancing himself from his friends and disobeying his parents.
He also began to have digital friends who were much older than he was.
All he cared about was his phone and isolated himself in doing so.
“If we can teach kids at a young age what technology can do then things would be different,” said Sher.
Although a children’s book, Tobias and his digital friends, challenges parents to look at any behavior changes in their children and to intervene before any larger issues arise.
Sher said the book “can teach parents how to control their child.”
“Before Tobias turned against his parents, they could have limited his [phone] use a day,” said Sher.
Sher, an immigrant from Pakistan, knows very well the struggles of wanting to fit in and be updated with technology.
On her website, Sher recalls being bullied and teased for not knowing how to maneuver a computer.
The book details the negative ways Tobias is behaving, but also shows his change back to his “normal” behavior after his smartphone us was limited by his parents.
In the future, Sher plans to write about other social issues she feels passionate about as well.
Her next ideas are about teaching children about racism and gender inequalities.
Sher’s goal is to challenge modern education and in hopes that today’s and future children “do not miss out on their childhood.”