Parent’s always want the best for their children; whether it is private school, language immersion or special extracurricular activities. In Canada, for example, French immersion is very common to ensure that children grow up to be bilingual.
Being bilingual has many advantages, particularly for countries with multiple primary languages like Canada, but these advantages pale in comparison to the advantages of learning the global language of code.
Essays and literature are not translated internationally easily, unlike code. A well-written program or application can be used globally with only small modifications to the interface. More importantly, however, because of the increased prevalence of technology, those that know how to code will find success more readily in today’s world than those that do not.
Learning to code should become a priority, and education should begin at a very young age. According to J. Paul Gibson, a computer scientist at the University of Ireland, “Children aged from 5-11 have so much potential for learning about algorithms and computation that it would be a shame to wait until they are teenagers before we teach them the foundations”. Gibson found that older students (18 or 19 years old) struggled to learn the concepts of programming compared to much younger students. This applies to technology-use in general, not just programming.
Teach your children how to code and use technology!
Gibson’s insights may seem obvious to some — that people learn things easier, and more wholly, as children — but to many it is still frowned upon to introduce children to technology at a young age. There is a delicate balance between allowing your children to learn technology, and allowing them to get lost in it, but you absolutely have to try. I would argue that it is better to have your children “get lost” in technology then for them to never “find it”.
The argument is simple:
- Technology is becoming a very big part of everyday life, globally
- Knowing how to interact with technology, including learning to code, is important to play a role in the new world economy as a result of this global transformation
- Coding is much easier to learn as children
- Therefore, teach your children how to code and use technology!
North America is already falling behind when it comes to producing strong programmers, mathematicians and scientists. Programming, like education in general, is still viewed as “nerdy”, so many students avoid the subject. The reality is that, nerdy or not, the technology sector produces some of the most lucrative careers — much better than flipping burgers for the rest of your life.
Of course, parents always have to balance their children’s interaction with technology with other activities like sports, social activities and outdoor fun, but introducing technology and coding to children early is vital to their success in the ever-changing world of technology.