Technological progress has substantially changed our society over the past few decades, from the way we socialise to the amount of time we spend with our families. One of the most noticeable differences is the change in the way children play and interact with each other. Video games, social media and mobile phones play an integral role in how children meet and interact with friends.
Although technology enables us to do things that were previously unimaginable, it can also have negative impacts on children’s social skills and psychological development.
Our kids' dependence upon technology has developed at a startling rate – just think of how many young people you know who fail to function properly without a smart phone or the Internet. Technology is making our children more alone because instead of interacting with their friends in person, they are dependent on using their phones or tablets, checking their social media sites every five minutes in fear of missing out. Your child may have many friends on social media, but no real friends. This is because loneliness is about the quality rather than quantity of relationships that we have. Loneliness makes our kids unhappy, it can lead to a lack of confidence and mental health problems like depression, stress and anxiety.
This isn’t to say that all technology is bad, or that children should never use technology. Technology provides positive opportunities for learning, entertaining, and socialising, but it should be monitored and used appropriately. The amount of time children spend online should not interfere with daily activities such as socialising, exercising, eating and sleeping. Don’t miss out on a moment when your child is being vulnerable and needs to talk simply because you can’t put down the smartphone yourself. Parents need to learn how to help children to use technology responsibly and keep a balance between online and offline time.
Human nature craves human interaction, and that interaction cannot be effectively replaced by technology. So next time you are with your friends or family, ignore your phone and enjoy the company of your loved ones around you. Technology will only progress as time moves forward, and teaching children the value of personal relationships will help them find true happiness in life.