By Nyasha Mutena
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister, Professor Paul Mavima has implored relevant stakeholders to join hands with government in scrutinizing several aspects of technology and their impact on families.
He made these remarks ahead of the International Day of Families which is commemorated on the 15th of May annually. Running under the theme “Families and New Technologies,” this year’s celebrations come at a time when the world is experiencing the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic.
As such, the importance of digital technologies for work, education and communication can never be overemphasised.
Addressing journalists this afternoon, Prof Mavima said his ministry is currently seized with exploring the intersection of digital technology and parenting education as a mode of child protection or wider family support.
“We view the approach as a potentially viable and significant preventive strategy for reducing child abuse and supporting the healthy development of children including children with disabilities, so that they can reach the maximum levels of their potential.
“We believe that technology can be a vehicle for assisting parents and families with learning how to effectively use and choose technology for their children, as well as for people to use technology appropriately in their roles as parents, guardians and caregivers – texting and video calls to communicate with children, to reassure and coach their children through challenges, learning alongside with children using education technologies, and sharing the joy of gaming”
Professor Mavima highlighted that some parents, guardians and caregivers, including those with disabilities, need to be protected from possible cyber bullying.
He mentioned that his ministry seeks to support all families including persons with disabilities to access and negotiate new technologies that enable them to acquire digital cultural capital for the betterment of the development of children, child protection as well as the well-being of parents, guardians and caregivers.
In addition, he stressed out that healthy families are vital for any nation’s growth, stability, sustainability and development.
“Families are the most meaningful vehicle for governments to influence the living standards of upcoming generations.
“We take cognizance of the fact that families are not a homogenous group hence we support different kinds of families.
“We also look out for child-headed families in which children may end up heading families for various reasons that may include the death of biological parents, abandonment by biological parents or drug addiction of biological parents that may make them unfit parents,” said Prof Mavima.
The International Day of Families provides an opportunity to raise awareness on issues relating to families and to increase knowledge of issues that affect families.
The Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993 and it reflects the importance that the international community attaches to families.