Mobile devices stunt social skill development in children

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The use of gadgets is halting children from learning through direct social interaction with others.

Parents who are wondering if their children are developing social skills at the proper rate may be interested in the latest research that is suggesting that it might be a good idea to limit a kid’s exposure to the digital screen of mobile devices.

Regular use of smartphones, tablets, and computers could be causing child social skills to decline.

Among the reasons that were put forward by this study is that children are spending more time in front of their mobile devices and computer screens, which is reducing the amount of time that they have for face to face interactions. The study has shown that the regular use of digital media is starting to hold back a child’s opportunity to be able to develop a number of socials skills that are considered to be normal and integral to development.

American scientists have found that sixth graders who put their mobile devices aside could make a difference quite quickly.

back to school education children mobile devicesThe researchers determined that kids that went five straight days without the use of a television, smartphone, or other types of digital media were better able to read human emotions than other children in the same grade, at the same school, but who spent hours each day in front of an gadget’s screen.

According to University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) psychology professor, Patricia Greenfield, “Many people are looking at the benefits of digital media in education and not many are looking at the costs.” She added that one of the costs is the loss of the ability to comprehend the emotions of other people. She said that “The displacement of in-person social interaction by screen interaction seems to be reducing social skills.”

The sixth graders who participated in this study were from a school located in southern California. The first set of children, of which there were 51, spent five days together at a nature and science camp at the Pali Institute, located 110 km from Los Angeles. There were no electronic gadgets permitted there. The other group, of 54 children, stayed at home and used their mobile devices. Compared to the kids who stayed at home, the camp children saw considerable improvements in their ability to read facial expressions and other nonverbal emotional cues.

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