New Delhi: Pitching for a strong cyber infrastructure in the country, Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday stressed that India should work towards developing its own servers.
Addressing students of the Jaypee Institute of Information Technology (JIIT) during a convocation ceremony in Noida, the home minister said: “As the home minister of the country, I don’t have control on many of the cyber crimes here as the server is located elsewhere.”
“In order to check growing cyber crime, we must develop cyber infrastructure,” he emphasised.
Echoing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for building I-ways (information highways), the minister said: “We need highways, roads, but we also need I-ways in our country.”
“Our neighbour China has shown us how we can challenge Google by developing its own operating systems,” he added.
Talking about the ongoing Digital India Week launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on July 1, the home minister said: “Our government is not only promoting digital governance but I am confident that India will soon reinforce its digital dominance in the world.”
Urging the students to use education in a constructive manner, Singh said: “Education while used in a constructive way is always beneficial to society but when abused it may prove dangerous.”
Referring to new manifestations of terrorism, he pointed out that all militants are not illiterate.
“Some of them (militants) are highly qualified and technically sophisticated. This is a clear example of how technology can be abused for creating trouble in society,” the minister said.
There was plenty of slime and llamas in red pajamas at the International Toy Fair earlier this week in New York. Hidden among these popular playthings were a number of toys that cater to the modern-day kid, with plenty of technology built in.
Educational toys are a mainstay in the industry, and S.T.E.M. toys, those that incorporate principles of science, technology, engineering, and math, have garnered attention in recent years. But now, toymakers are addressing children’s emotional intelligence as well, with toys that not only cultivate their IQ but their EQ, or emotional quotient.
PleIQ is a set of plastic toy blocks that use augmented reality technology to showcase a variety of words, numbers, and lessons to children. PleIQ CEO Edison Durán demonstrated how virtual characters and miniature storybook scenes pop up on the blocks when they’re held in front of a tablet camera.
“You can think of this as a kid’s Alexa,” said Hu, Woobo’s strategic partnerships and business development manager. “We have a lot of expressions that are built into it.”
Hu posted a question to the furry green Woobo, “Hi, what’s your name?”
It responded in a childlike voice with, “Are you trying to trick me? My name is Woobo.”
Woobo comes programmed with educational games and activities that children can access via its touchscreen face. Toys that function as companions also aid in social development. Hu described how Woobo can help an autistic child.
“He can communicate with Woobo and he can follow some of the instructions Woobo is giving,” said Hu, noting that kids see Woobo more as a companion than a parent or authority figure “telling him to do certain things.”
A more low-tech companion is Manimo, toy animals weighing 2.2 to 5.5 pounds that can help with hyperactivity and concentration. Whether it’s a snake, salamander, dolphin or frog, Manimos can be draped across a child’s arm, chest or neck.
Like the use of weighted blankets or vests in occupational therapy, Manimos alleviate anxiety and stress and can be particularly helpful to kids with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or those on the autism spectrum.
Karine Gagner, president and founder of Manimo, explained that applying deep pressure to one’s body can help calm kids before bedtime, while simultaneously increasing their concentration and focus.
“It works very well at school, you can use it on your lap or you can put it over your shoulder or just hold it in your arm,” Gagner said.
At the EQtainment booth, sales director Jonathan Erickson was explaining the company’s toy lineup: “The purpose of all of our products is to develop emotional and social intelligence in kids — so that’s impulse control, manners, any skill sets relating with other people.”
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a genius when it comes to IQ, you still need to be able to relate to the world around you,” Erickson said.
Erickson was displaying a board game called “Q’s Race to the Top,” in which players try to advance a monkey named “Q” to the top of his treehouse while engaging in an interactive mix of physical activity and conversational prompts. Kevin Chaja, EQtainment’s CTO, says the game got his 4-year-old daughter to open up.
“The biggest thing is her talking. And that’s the key of all this, is getting her to talk, getting her feelings expressed out. Like, ‘Hey, what does it feel like to be sad? Or how does it feel like to be happy?’” Chaja said.
Whether a board game can ultimately improve a child’s emotional intelligence remains to be seen, but in parents’ ongoing quest to raise well-rounded children, toymakers are making sure to cover all their bases.