During the early years, children learn essential social skill sets that will help them communicate and interact with others, understand and respect social rules and expectations, and establish and maintain healthy relationships. The process of learning these skills is known as socialization.
The most important agents of socialization are family, school, religion, peers, and media. However, in recent decades, mass media (particularly the Internet) has played a significant role in shaping our thinking, beliefs, needs, preferences, emotions, and behavior.
Social media shapes our lifestyle and affects our personal self-concepts, attitudes, and life orientation, especially adolescents and young adults.
Social media and the Internet, in general, have dramatically changed the world in which children are raised. Technology and electronic media provide kids and adolescents with a variety of learning opportunities and a wide range of new experiences.
The Impact of Digital Content on Social Skills
Everything a child experiences have an impact on the way his or her brain becomes wired. Children are today exposed to technology and almost limitless Internet access since their early years.
According to a report by UNICEF, kids and adolescents under the age of 18 account for 1 in 3 Internet users in the world, which makes them the most connected generation today.
Nevertheless, while digitally connected, kids and teens seem to lack basic social skills essential for life and well-being.
Your teen may be immersed in his smartphone for hours, oblivious to the world around him. Many of us, and especially the young population, accomplish the majority of our communication online, without the need for face-to-face contact with another human being.
Many parents are concerned that their kids are growing up with no understanding of the basics of real-life interaction. While non-stop connected on social media, our kids lack basic social skills, studies show.
How to Boost Your Child’s Social Skills
Our kids are overwhelmed by digital content which prevents them from exploring real-life social situations. Here are some things we can do as parents to help our kids build stronger social skills.
Spend Quality Family Time Together
Set a good example for your kids and refrain from using your smartphone when you come home in the evening. Have at least one meal a day together (without phones), enjoying your time and sharing your thoughts and emotions.
Plan family day-trips or vacations or organize fun activities for the whole family to enjoy. Also, organize playdates with fiends for younger kids and encourage teenagers to spend time with their real-life friends.
Boost Your Child’s Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence (EQ or EI) is being smart about emotions. If your child has a highly developed EQ, she will understand what she feels, why she feels that way, and how her feelings affect others. Also, high EQ allows your child to understand other people’s emotions and then react to them appropriately. To enhance your child’s emotional intelligence, encourage them to talk openly about their feelings. Also, be open about how you feel and teach your kids emotional regulation.
Read books that promote social and emotional development to younger children and encourage teens to read on their own. Reading and books promote emotional literacy and help build strong social skills.
Take care and keep healthy and positive,