Wednesday, May 22, 2013

What is the effect of permitting your child to use social media? Is it possible that when your child uses social media it interferes with their learning of social skills and/or doing their homework in an efficacious way?


Social media has changed communication in positive ways. However, as positive as the benefits are, there are some negative components, as well. How many of you walk the streets of the city in which you live? Have you noticed that instead of walking looking forward so that you are able to nod or to say hello to passers-by, almost everyone has their head down looking at some device? Why is that bad? Communication between individuals is based on eye contact. If people do not maintain eye contact, they therefore, cannot communicate. I am always amazed that people who walk with their heads down do not trip and fall more often!

Why are people arguably unable to put their cell phones down for a few minutes to walk looking ahead of them, nodding their head to approaching individuals or saying hello? There appears to be a sense of immediacy and almost desperation about finding out what someone has written to them on Twitter, Facebook, email or text. Unfortunately, due to the lure of social media, and the gravitational pull that it has on people, they are unlikely to want to delay gratification. In fact, that is why people text message as they are driving, which has caused many, many accidents across the United States.

How does being so dependent and arguably addicted to social media negatively affect your child? One mother told me that it takes her son twice the time to do his math homework, while making many errors. Why does that happen?  He checks YouTube while he is doing his homework!

I went to a restaurant recently and a family sat next to us who had a four year old child with them. The child watched a movie on their I Pad the entire meal, barely eating and certainly not interacting with anyone at their table. I have no argument with parents wanting a little peace and quiet while they eat. However, couldn’t they have made a judgment on their child’s misbehavior as it was happening, instead of avoiding any social interaction with their child?

So, in answer to my own question, “What is the effect of permitting your child to use social media in public?”, I would say that if you have a child who is young and needs to learn social skills by interacting with you and/or if you have an older child who’s use of social media is interfering with his homework and/or interacting with you, it is essential to change when you permit your child to use social media and for how long.

More tomorrow…

 

 

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