Teens, screens and the art of real communication.
What children lose when don't look up!
I've surveyed thousands of children across countries, whether leaning against their school walls during break-time or while walking in a group on the streets. And they're usually looking down, on their smartphones, scrolling through social media feeds. Kids, according to research from top organizations like Common Sense Media (full disclosure, I worked there) now prefer communicating with each other through text and social media. The sad truth is children are losing out on the nuance that lies at the heart of human connection. A group of words or a photo hastily sent out to one or more friends, is not what human beings are fulfilled by. But it's become the norm. The kids just aren't looking up. Which means they're missing out on crucial cues, including body language, and unspoken face-to-face communication.
The research across the board shows that. And while some of it points to those children who have underlying issues, who spend more time communicating through screens, the pandemic shows us otherwise. Children have unilaterally started to drift to less nuanced and increasingly frictionless communication which will prove difficult for them later in life. More research and time has to be spent on providing practical tools for parents and educators, so they can raise human beings, who understand that screens have a purpose, but cannot replace so much of what makes us human.