Tuesday, September 16, 2014

E-Government: Could It Be A Chance For More Democratic Families?

I remember the first time I had an i-phone in my hands. It belonged to one of my friends and I had to use it for an emergency call when I did not have my own mobile phone with me. It took several minutes to figure out how to unlock the phone and make a call. But now it is not surprising to see kids at the age of 2 with dancing fingers on those touch screen machines.

This is just a tiny example of how fast children are adopting to new technologies. For technology and internet use, it is commonly agreed that children are years ahead of their parents if not light-years ahead. So much so, children sometimes play a teacher role when their parents meet a new social media platform. There are a number of people around me whose first email accounts or Facebook profiles are opened by their children.

Actually, it is not just the social media that adults are getting help from their children. People who are not familiar with the internet but want to enjoy the easiness of some e-government applications also have their children as their life guards. This may also happen for grandparents getting help from their grandchildren when they are checking their retirement information or when they need to pay their tax online. If we put aside all the debate on whether the internet is helpful or harmful for children, it is something making parents happy to see how useful information their children or sometimes grandchildren have.

If we go back to our own childhood, parents were doing their best to keep any kind of governmental documents away from their children. Children had a big potential to ruin those precious, just-for-adults kind of serious documents just like pouring their chocolate milk on or marking on these papers. When parents had to bring along their kids to a governmental office to submit those forms, children were warned to be a silent and a good kid before entering the building.

When we compare our childhood memories with today’s facts, it is not hard to see that children are more involved in daily life. Children are also involved in the process of meeting new e-government applications. Please remember the discussions on the power of e-government making citizens more involved and making the system more democratic. Then we may end up with a conclusion that it might have already started to create more democratic and warmer family relationships.   

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