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Are we putting pressure on kids to learn coding too early?

Are we headed towards a ‘coding class before walking’ kind of a world?

By Divanshi Gupta

‘Will learning coding at the age of four add pressure on young minds’? ‘Will it take away their childhood?’, or ‘Will learning to code help my child get ahead in the future amongst its peers?’ So many more such questions have been in conversation numerous times over the last decade. There always have been debates, studies, internet polls, in-depth interviews with parents and children, to assess and derive the right age for a child to start learning to code. Though many studies and researches are guesstimating the advantages of acquiring knowledge of a foreign language such as computer science and programming at a young age, many are clearly refusing to accept this reasoning, due to impact it may have on the minds of children, who have not yet learnt to speak well let alone speak a language that requires logic, patience and curiosity to learn, and deep understanding of the digital and technological world.

The point that is being missed here is about the benefits of holistic upbringing. Empowering the child with the knowledge of many subjects that they can pursue at a young age will make them future ready, not by pushing coding courses on them. Educating children about the necessity of learning coding comes way before making learning coding compulsory. So, why is it not right to impel children to pursue coding at the young age of 6 or 10?

Right exposure at the right age: There is a correct age for everything. From learning to talk to riding the first bike; just like a child cannot learn to cycle before walking. They can’t learn to code before they learn to frame a proper sentence, or for example, giving a smartphone in the hands of a three-year-old will have a poor impact on their eyesight, behaviour, and sleep patterns. Similarly, every opportunity to grow comes with the right age, else it can cause disruptions that are frightening for the children of the coming generation.

ALSO READ | ‘Why do our kids need to learn coding, when we never did?’

Psychological concerns and behavioural changes: Pressuring children into learning coding is a much debated topic, but pushing coding at the age of six, is like opening your child to a more complicated world before their minds are ready. Putting your child in coding coaching classes will not only put the pressure to excel at a young age but dilute their childhood years and take away all the fun. Further, according to the National Crime Records Bureau statistics, one student commits suicide every hour in India due to the pressure of performance.

Reason to logic: Many EdTech entrepreneurs reason that learning coding at the age of three or four will improve the child’s logical skills and creative thinking, but when children are asking why two plus two equals four, why feed them the logic of squares and cubes?

Questionable social skills: Developing social skills are an integral part for a child during his/her nascent years. So, if children spend time sitting in front of a PC learning to code or practicing the language, then when will they get the time to interact with other children of their age to be able to function in society and amongst its peers without any difficulty or hesitation?

ALSO READ | How a story book is teaching 4-6 year olds the basics of coding, one activity at a time

Integrating computer programming languages at a young age is nothing but laying pressure on a child that it’s the only way to make it in the big world. Every child is different, and so are their style, choices and preferences for the future. Thus, it is clear that there are several reasons why early coding modules are way too advanced to even begin with, as children between the ages of two to 10 years are in their growth period, trying to understand the world as it is.

So, the question is, are we headed towards a ‘coding class before walking’ kind of a world? Or will we take the moment to analyse the repercussions the current trend will have on the future of our children!

(The writer is Director, The Marcom Avenue, an Ed-tech consultant. Views are personal)

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