Soha Ali Khan, who is the mother of two year old Inaaya Naumi Kemmu, was present for a first app launch which has been designed only for kids by Voot. During an exclusive interaction, Soha spoke in detail about her idea of parenting.
Were you scared of giving her devices like phone, as it could harm their eyes?
Yes, of course I had fear that she was not physically fit for the screen time and it will damage her eyes. She doesn’t understand what is happening around. I did lot of research and I spoke to doctors as well ,they said till the child is 18 months ,it doesn’t damage their eyes ,in fact reading in bad lights can also damage your eyes, flash exposure to the camera can also damage your eyes. But the concern is that it is not engaging the child, because they don’t know what is happening as images coming on the phone have no connection with them on or off screen. They can only make that connection after 18 months. Two years is actually a right time to introduce screens to them, because they can recognise en elephant on screen, which I have seen in the zoo or somewhere else.
What do you have to say about the fact that kids these days hardly get exposed to outdoor games?
My child is two and she is still learning her motor skills and holding things. The other day she took my phone and started running, she dropped it on her foot and that hurts. Now she returns the phone to me. So she has learnt that lesson herself. There is a certain age to handle certain things, if can’t handle it then don’t play with it. I have also dropped my phone on my head while watching something. My point is you have to be responsible yourself and set the right examples for your child. When they are two year old, it is a time that you select content for your child. This app is perfect for it. She keeps asking me questions and I have to explain everything to her in an entertaining way in two minutes because she cannot pay attention to it after that. I was concern that what will she learn from cartoons but it helps to improve vocabulary, values, about sharing.
What particular qualities that you inherited from your parents, would want to pass on to your child?
First quality which I would want to pass is of my father ,which is always teach by example ,you often tell your child not to lose temper ,but if I lose my temper with my husband or cook then my child will see that and Inaaya often ask me mumma you getting angry? So I need to control myself and if I don’t want to teach her to yell and scream at someone then I should not do it. I have never heard my father raise his voice in his whole life and I have huge respect for him. I have also understood raising a voice is not an admirable quality. Similarly, he never used his phone, if you looked at his phone it was always off. I used to say Abba what is the point of having a phone when I call it is often off. He would say the phone is to make you available to me. So when I want to talk to you I will turn it on and call you and it is not the other way round. Just because I have a phone it doesn’t mean that you can call me whenever you want. These are the things he lived by, so teach by example is a life lesson for me. As far as my mother is concerned she is always curious to learn and I think I have that quality from her, I am nerdy kind of person, who sits in the class and raises hand to ask question and is a teacher’s pet. Because of me I think Inaaya also likes to sit and learn and that curiosity I would definitely want to pass on to her.
What do you have to say about the constant media attention star kids get?
We are all guilty of making our children feel like a star, all of us, in everyone’s household, the child are always pampered by someone. They are spoiling your child by giving them too much attention. This problem is very common; we keep making thousands of videos and photos of them. So that child will think I am a big star. It so happens that our children get to expose to actual photographers. It makes no difference to them whether it is this camera or that camera. I don’t think it is a big deal. Inaaya knows how to smile for the camera and I think it is good to know the technology. She might want to be an actor when she grows up and she will have to deal with it. She will be dealing it at a young age and she will have an advantage. Other aspect that there may be a loss of innocence as I remember I did lots of things ,which was not documented ,games that I played, the clothes that I wore, there are very few pictures of them. There is something wonderful about that. Now we have documented everything our lives and that is good and bad too.