“Kids spend more time inside because of school, homework, working parents and other factors dictating their schedules. But when they have free time, how do they spend it?
Author Richard Louv coined the phrase “nature deficit disorder,” describing the younger generations disconnect with nature. How often do you see kids playing in the woods, building forts, or rolling down grassy hills? A University of Michigan 2004 study said kids play outside two hours less a week than two decades ago, choosing instead to spend the extra time watching TV, on the computer, reading or just doing nothing.
Technology isn’t exactly great for our health either. In 2004, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention said childhood obesity had tripled since 1980 in the U.S.A. One of the most technologically advanced countries also has one of the highest shares of obese people in the world — not a correlation of which to be proud.
A benefit of a family is that children learn the give and take of society — how to interact with other people, the importance of the individual and the group, and how to communicate. However, with the inundation of technology in all facets of life, parents run the risk of raising a generation who can’t relate to other people.
Children with unlimited gaming, computer and TV time may not get enough interpersonal face-to-face interaction needed to develop proper social skills. A Wall Street Journal article called this “silent fluency,” the ability to read cues like tone, body language and facial expressions. E-mail and texts don’t convey empathy, tone or subtext the way face-to-face or phone conversations do. While the effects are still being quantified, the digital generation is at risk to lose their silent fluency abilities.
Larry Rosen, a well-known psychologist, has studied the psychology of Facebook interaction and feels that while it can be good practice for introverted kids to get comfortable talking to peers, it is no substitute for real-world interaction. “Our study showed that real-world empathy is more important for feeling as though you have solid social support,” he writes. “Although those who had more virtual empathy did feel more socially supported, the impact was less than the real-world empathy.”
So, if your child seems to spend most of her time on social media or texting, encourage her to talk to or make plans with friends. Or at least, with you.
Another concern lies in technology addiction, when individuals spend more time with their smartphone than interacting with the people around them, to the detriment of those face-to-face relationships. “It may be the parent checking his or her e-mail during a family dinner or the young college student updating Twitter while on a first date,” Bowman says. “For these people, they likely feel such a strong sense of identity online that they have some difficulty separating their virtual actions from their actual ones.”
With the release of the fifth edition of the DSM, Internet addiction now will be listed as a mental illness marked by emotional shutdown, lack of concentration, and withdrawal symptoms, so we may be closer to diagnosing and understanding socially detrimental human-technology relationships.”
“Technology is Destroying the Quality of Human Interaction …”
By Student Admin – TBL – The Bottom Line, January 24, 2012
January 3rd, 2011
06:00 PM ET
Technology replacing personal interactions at what cost?
FROM CNN’s Jack Cafferty: “The year we stopped talking to one another.”
“In other words, most of us spend our days walking around with our noses buried in our cell phones, BlackBerrys, iPhones, etc.
And while we’re doing that, we’re tuning out the people who are actually in the same room as us. We seem to have long ago crossed the line as to where doing this stuff is appropriate – people take calls while they’re out to dinner, text or check e-mail while on a date, you name it.
Some experts say it’s time to take a step back and reassess. They’re reminding people that technology can be turned off, and that it’s important to connect with people in person. They worry that kids won’t know what it’s like to share a story or actually look someone in the eyes. And that’s sad.
Here’s my question to you: At what cost has technology replaced personal interactions?”