A human being is a social being and no-one can thrive alone in this world. Children have been introduced to many technological devices that is potentially pushing them into solitude. This is an alarming trend that has developed with the advent of 21st century. Technology has taken over human lives. The younger generation nowadays would rather sit at home and chat with their friends over the Internet rather than going out and making new friends or playing with their existing friends.
According to a survey carried out by Stanford University, young girls who multitask with various digital applications like Facebook, YouTube, and text messaging are facing the risk of becoming social hermits.�Around 3,461 American girls between the age of 8�12 were surveyed for the study.
“No one had ever looked at this, which really shocked us,” Clifford Nass, a Stanford University professor who worked on the study said. “Kids have to learn about emotion, and the way they do that, really, is by paying attention to other people. They have to really look them in the eye.”
Multitasking with different types of technological devices, smart phones, touch pads, mp3 players etc is the hip thing nowadays.
The era of PlayStation might have made the world a ‘safer’ place for children since they don�t go out to play and get hurt but has definitely complicated it for them by taking away their childhood. Children connect online with their friends and play with them within the confines of their homes.
Researchers of the study learned that children who have regular play dates with other children will learn to fight for their rights because they will fight for themselves when someone tries to cheat their way out of a game. They will know how to deal with loss since they will learn face to face how to lose a game and take it without making a scene. These are all emotions that would complete a child�s growth. Experiences that would help a child enter the real world in the future.
“If you eschew face-to-face communication, you don’t learn critical things that you have to learn,” Nass said. “You have to learn social skills. You have to learn about emotion.”
Studies also show that ‘Tweens’ who regularly interact with friends and family face to face are less likely to develop social problems as opposed to a child who has limited human interactions. It is important that these interactions are personal since multitasking while on video call or Skype is also very common among these children.
Although the researchers were not able to specify the exact number of hours that children should spend online per week, Nass said: �Social skills are typically only learnt when children are engaged in making eye contact, rather than fiddling with an iPod during a conversation.”
Most of the 21st century children are being brought up glued to the television or the phone and have no time to play or even talk with anyone. Encouraging children to become social beings is the responsibility of the parents. No matter what technology comes into the world it cannot replace human interaction. To enable a child face the society, it is important to tell him/her how to talk to a person while maintaining eye contact and not playing with his/her phone while having a conversation. It is important that these boys/girls learn to identify real life emotions so that they will be prepared for the real world when they grow up.
Studies also reveal that adults are also being impacted by multitasking and how it has affected their social life. Grown ups who are used to multitasking are prone to develop memory problems and face difficulties in focusing. Multitasking on general activities i.e. juggling work has become more and more difficult to these individuals.
(Written by Pulakshi Perera – Edited by Moign Khawaja)