Is Technology Making Kids Antisocial?
Recently, I was in a situation for work that required everyone to turn in their cellphones at the door where they remained free of use until we were dismissed.
During our cellphone-free time, we all had to figure out how to keep ourselves occupied. We had to actually talk to each other, make friends, and figure out how to stay entertained for 12 hours.
It was like being back in the old days when cellphones didn’t run our lives and social interactions. Back when we learned how to strike up conversation with a stranger and form a little friendship out of what we have in common and general likes and dislikes.
After experiencing this, it made me wonder how much of cellphone usage, or technology usage in general, is contributed to antisocial behavior, especially in kids who were brought up with devices to keep them occupied.
Today, many kids equate making friends to the friends they find online through multiplayer video games like Fortnite. Sure they are socializing, but it’s not face-to-face and there is nothing being added to the relationship other than mutually playing a video game together.
Everything is done on a device. Now, kids as young as 8 years old are being asked to do their homework online and are using smartphones to communicate with their friends and family. Roughly 45 percent of kids ages 10 to 12 have their own phone, according to CNN, and 50 percent of teens admit to feeling addicted to their phones.
The scary thing is child development experts say parents should be limiting their child’s screen time because it can cause speech delay in toddlers.
Children and teens have to learn how to express themselves without the help of a device. Before phones, kids had to learn to be bored and self soothe. They also had to learn to communicate and make friends.
All of these skills are critical to a child’s development and aid them along in adulthood. Without them they hinder development and ultimately place the child behind when it comes to socializing with their peers and forming relationships as adults.
Even Steve Jobs limited screen time with his children, and didn’t let them get phones until they were at least 14 years old.
So, what can we do about it? Force kids to put their games and phones away and take time to be without them. It’s critical that we make kids and teens break an addiction that leads to codependency of technology.
Experts also suggest keeping meal times free from cellphone use and to end usage an hour before bedtime. But now more than ever we must start the habit young so we aren’t forced to reteach how to socialize to adult kids.