How to prepare your kids to live in a future that harnesses the power of technology

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The Singapore Smart Nation – a future where people live meaningful and fulfilled lives enabled seamlessly by harnessing the power of technology. It’s a “revolution”, said Minister-in-charge of Smart Nation Programme Office (SNPO) Vivian Balakrishnan during an interview with Channel News Asia. A revolution that involves the advent of platform technologies.

These include personal computing, the internet, robotics, high resolution video, 3D printing and big data analytics. “That means they are going to transform the way we live, work, play, socialise, communicate, organise ourselves, educate ourselves and the way our economic activities are going to be pursued. So there is a revolution going on,” he said.

As Singapore transforms itself into a Smart Nation, so should we. Now is the best time to better prepare yourself and your children for a nation that emphasises digital technology.

Encourage your children to learn new skills

A Smart Nation is built with a world class infrastructure, a capability layer and a global ecosystem. The first of these has already been put in place - a next generation nationwide broadband network and extensive wireless network across the nation. The Government is also making sure Internet access is affordable to all, with subsidies available for those in need.

The second revolves around education. Dr Balakrishnan’s example was to introduce computing as an ‘O’ Level option, with basic programming or computational thinking available to all students from primary school.

It’s never too late for your kids to start picking up new skills and competencies beyond what they will learn in school or in college to be future ready. In a Smart Nation era, with readily available internet access and the right skills, your children will find it easier to quickly prototype ideas, test them and put it on the market, along with financial aid, market access and networks in place to help their startups grow as a regional or international player.

Keeping data privacy secure

The Smart Nation envisions a Singapore where everyone is connected. Data is shared anonymously without personal data being compromised, with the data derived used to better meet public needs. Dr Balakrishnan cites an example of tracking one’s public transportation commute without one’s personal information, so service providers know how best to manage their resources accordingly.

On the other hand, many people take data privacy for granted, especially the younger generation who practically grew up with the Internet. They might freely post inappropriate pictures, videos and messages on social media websites like Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. Not only could people with malicious intent be able to exploit this data, this information could also have a negative impact on their job prospects in the future, when employers chance on their social media pages.

Teach your kids to be smart on social media. For instance, don’t “friend” strangers, be nice and emphasise that anything they post “once it’s out there, you can never truly delete it”. Be involved in a way that shows you respect their privacy but want to look out for them. And don’t forget to set a good example of your own social media behaviour.

Teach them to become a problem solver

A Smart Nation of the future will not be dependent on the Government to handle all its problems. Rather, citizens will be empowered by the vast information available to come up with solutions to those problems. The aim is to get Singaporeans to actively grab opportunities and solve issues by coming up with their own ideas. As Dr Balakrishnan said, it is truly an exercise in co-creation. This will be a massive shift in tone in Singapore’s society.

With that in mind, your children should be encouraged from a young age to actively come up with ideas to problems. Stop mollycoddling and shielding them from the dangers of the world, and let them be independent, proactive and voice their opinions without fear of rejection. With this mindset, your children will better utilise the positives of a Smart Nation to better improve and empower themselves.

Be ready to take on the future

Find out what you need to get kids prepped and future ready at SMARTgen Asia, the first of its kind event in the region to experience the coolest technology that will shape the way you live, work and play. One of the highlights of this upcoming event is a conference that explores the life skills and competencies beyond what your child learns in school but will need to be future ready.

There are also cool classes on coding, filming and web designing for children aged 10-19 and a conference where Singapore’s top tech movers and shakers will share the secrets of their success.

Join us and prepare your child for a 21st century career. Get valuable advise from top industry players from Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, TripAdvisor, Uber and more...

Visit our website for more details and other highlights! We hope to see you at SmartGen 2018!

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