STUFFED DOLLS and sandbags - those were my playthings when I was a kid. I must have been from Venus.

My 10-year old nephew is from Earth for sure. His toys are smart watch, iPad and, wait for it, a small intelligent robot.

He is just in his third grade at the primary school, but technology is part and parcel of his life already.

And technology is also transforming how young parents care for their children.

My elder brother's wife told me as a child, she didn't have many tech products for toys. When her son [my nephew] turned 5, she promptly gifted him a smart learning pad.

''We're living in interesting times. The world has changed. Kids need intelligent gadgets to learn. I don't want him to lag behind others,'' she said.

China accords top priority to education. Since 2016, the government has invested over 3 trillion yuan [$438 billion] , or around 4 percent of  national GDP, annually on education.

Chinese ''tiger mums and dads'' - it's a reference to new-age parents who have high expectations of their kids - are willing to spend big money for high-quality education. 

''Such education can help our kids achieve what we couldn't ,'' said my sister-in-law, a home maker.

She probably has a good point Today's kids are brainier, I think. As my nephew grew up from a kid into a curious, intelligent boy, he would pester his parents with millions of questions :

Why is the Earth round? Why does a snake slither in a zigzag way rather than move in a straight line? Why are carrots in the neighborhood vegetable market cheaper than in the hypermarket? Why can't the car `run on water as fuel if old railway engines could chug along on steam?

If parents get tired answering such endless questions, the kid's natural quest for knowledge may get blunted.

What of the brainy kid's seemingly insatiable curiosity is matched by an encyclopedic, adorable, always-on robot?

The World Students Society thanks writer Cheng Yu.


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