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Gusto for gadgets - St Ann’s Bay mayor backs technology focus for kids

Published:Wednesday | June 26, 2019 | 12:07 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer


St Ann’s Bay Mayor Michael Belnavis says that electronic gadgets, video games in particular, are helping children to build critical skills that could prove useful in the world of work.

“Don’t think that utilising the iPad or the joystick associated with games is a waste of time. The way the world is going now, the electronics and the hand-eye coordination are going to be the way of the future,” said Belnavis while delivering the keynote address at the regional finals of the 2019 Jamaica Gasolene Retailers Association (JGRA) Region Three Primary Schools’ Quiz Competition, which was staged at the Royalton White Sands Resort in Trelawny on Monday.

“The way you coordinate the use of the computer, whether through a typewriter or the joystick or mouse, is going to be the way in which you communicate in the future,” added Belnavis.

Addressing how evolving technology has been changing lives, Belnavis cited reforms in the medical field to emphasise his point.

“In my time, a doctor would be using a knife to get inside of you, but now they use lasers and robotics, which are less invasive. So when children are doing their things (with electronic devices), it’s not a waste of time; it’s a way of getting themselves ready for the future,” said Belnavis.

“We adults need to be technically aware and cognisant of the way in which the world is moving. Socially, these kids will become more empowered, and their esteem will be more enhanced,” Belnavis added.

In September 2017, Mikhale Edwards, the National Parenting Support Commission communications director, recommended that parents minimise the distractions their children may experience as a result of technology, seemingly supporting the view that children could become addicted to electronic devices.

Unlike Belnavis, Edwards expressed the view that failure to curb the excessive use of electronic gadgets would result in children developing attention problems and sleep and eating disorders.

In the quiz final, Spring Gardens Primary School of southern Trelawny defeated Golden Grove of St Ann 45-26 to emerge Region Three champions. The objective of the quiz was to get the participating students more culturally, socially and academically aware.