November 08, 2017

Yuma the 10-year-old app developer wants to inspire children to learn coding

Yuma Soerianto has impressed Apple bosses with his apps

Elaine Hunter

Early childhood development writer

The Australian schoolboy was on a panel of experts at the World Youth Form, where he talked about leadership and his love for coding.

Yuma Soerianto is only 10. But he's so tech-savvy that he's already developed a bunch of apps - and this week he's been talking about computer coding and leadership at the World Youth Forum.

The Australian schoolboy decided at the age of six to learn how to code because he said schoolwork was not a big enough challenge. 

He created his first app last year and now has five games in the App Store. Yuma, who goes to Middle Park Primary School in Melbourne, has his own YouTube channel that teaches coding skills and he’s even impressed Apple CEO Tim Cook with his knowledge and ability.

Before he set off for Egypt and the World Youth Forum, Yuma said: “I’m going to talk there to thousands of people about how I got into coding and my leadership. I hope to inspire millions of kids.”

He appeared on stage with a panel of leadership experts. Asked for his advice for other children, he said:  "If you don't start coding, you might lag behind."

The 10-year-old is using his apps to educate others

Photo credit: Yuma Soerianto / Twitter

Yuma’s inspirational story echoes what we already know is going on across the world. Technology is the backbone of learning, development, careers and economic growth.

Young people will need technology skills if they are going to fulfil their potential and be successful into tomorrow's job market.

In a survey conducted in 2013, parents in the developed world said 70% of children know their way around a laptop, tablet and phone before they start school. 

But in developing countries, hundreds of millions of children are playing catch-up as they don’t have access to quality education, training and equipment.

That is why Theirworld developed the innovative, low-cost model of sustainable and scalable Code Clubs in several African countries.

This is where girls can learn to code from as young as six, foster creative thinking and increase important knowledge and skills for the future - all in a supportive educational environment.

Theirworld launched the first Code Club on International Women’s Day last year. Clubs are currently running in Uganda, Tanzania and Nigeria.  

All the girls and young women - they are aged up to 25 - who attend learn how to build a computer, make games and artworks, and express themselves with code. 

The older girls also learn how to create their own websites using HTML, CSS and Java as well as gain skills for future employment and business. All of this is delivered in partnership with existing tech hubs, schools and NGOs.

Theirworld's Code Clubs are run in conjunction with Women in Technology Uganda, BRAC Maendeleo Tanzania and the Oando Foundation.

Children are becoming more familiar with technology before starting school

Photo credit: Kelly Sikkema

Experts advise that children's use of technology must be mixed with social interaction and learning from other people.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says: “Media and digital devices are an integral part of our world today. The benefits of these devices, if used moderately and appropriately, can be great.  

“But research has shown that face-to-face time with family, friends, and teachers, plays a pivotal and even more important role in promoting children's learning and healthy development. “

Leading psychologist Amanda Hills, who specialises in brain development, has warned about introducing technology at too early an age.

The lecturer at King’s College, London, said: “In the first years of a child’s life, zero to three, a child’s brain is developing most rapidly. 

"We are designed to interact with humans. The use of tech at the moment has not been proven to be beneficial or harmful, so why take the risk?"

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