How Parents Can Foster ‘Positive Creativity’ In Children To Make The World A Better Place |

Creativity involves the production of ideas that are both new and useful or effective. This definition gives the impression that creativity is quite positive. And it often is.

During the pandemic, creativity spawned new ways of working, going to school, visiting museums, attending concerts and more – not to mention developing COVID vaccines and treatments – 19 cutting edge.

As university professors who have collectively studied creativity for over 50 years, we know the many personal and social benefits of creativity.

But we also know there is a dark side to creativity as well.

Cybercriminals, for example, have used their creativity to take advantage of the disruption and fears caused by the pandemic to attack countries, businesses and institutions and steal personal information from people.

Or think about how hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin was promoted as COVID-19 treatments. Some people got something from these new treatment ideas – maybe money, power, or the prospect of re-election – but the drugs had no empirical support and people who took them may have sidestepped them. drugs that could have helped them.

The point is that creativity is not always socially desirable. So just teaching kids to be creative is not enough in the modern age. Here we offer tips for parents and caregivers on how to minimize negative forms of creativity in children – and themselves – and foster positive creativity instead.

1. Identify the purpose of a new product or idea

Discuss with the children the goals of the innovations – their own or the ones they use in everyday life. Evaluate goals not only for novelty and usefulness or significance, but also for how they contribute to the common good. Like criminal hacking, creativity can be used to benefit the inventor but harm other individuals. Hacking in itself is not bad unless it is done with bad intention. Ethical hackers use their creativity to help businesses locate weaknesses and vulnerabilities in their information systems using the same skills and tactics as criminal hackers.

Encourage the children to think about what the common good is – not just what is good for members of their own team – and how to achieve it. These discussions also apply to projects or activities in which children are involved. How will the project contribute, even modestly, to a better world? For example, if the child is writing a short story for a class at school, might there be a beneficial lesson in the short story that readers might take away?

2. Probe for unintended consequences

Discuss the different ways people can use a product or idea. Most ideas or products can be used in a positive way at one time or one place but have a negative effect at another. Or it can be a bit of each at some point. For example, social media enables communication, connection and community building in ways that were never possible before their advent. But people can also use social media to spread misinformation and hate.

3. Think long term too

Discuss the short and long term consequences of creative products and ideas. When plastics were invented over a century ago, they were considered miracle products for their strength, flexibility, durability and insulation. Today, however, much of that plastic is used once and thrown away. Plastics that don’t biodegrade break down into small pieces that can be toxic and ruin ecosystems.

4. Give examples of positive creativity

Parents and children can find examples of positive creative ideas and projects together. Discuss how the creators came up with these ideas and how they influenced people’s lives. Compare examples of positive creators with examples of negative creators. For example, people specializing in Internet security can use their training to either protect the security of people’s information or to attempt to access that information to steal the victim’s money or identity.

5. Promote perspective thinking and empathy

There are many books and other creative activities for children that aim to promote empathy and perspective-taking as well as creativity. Creative empathy involves feeling like someone else is feeling that you don’t or only vaguely know. Creatively adopting multiple perspectives means putting yourself in someone’s shoes and asking yourself why they may see an issue, like racism, differently from the way you see it. Role-playing is a great way to teach these skills, as it involves actively embracing a role rather than just passively reading about it.

We believe that the best future for the world does not belong to those who are just creative, but rather to those who are positively creative.

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