By Beth Proudfoot, LMFT
We know that parents are struggling this summer to keep kids off their devices. It’s TIRING to keep saying no when the demands for screen time are constant and sometimes escalating, especially when the truth is that when they’re texting their friends, they are…quiet.
Here’s just a little kick in the pants for the energy and courage to Keep Saying No to Instant Messaging, Group Texting, Texting Instead of Calling, Communicating via Video Games, etc.
Dangers of communicating online:
Face-to-face, in-person social skills are learned through experience in childhood and adolescence. What they don’t learn now will be very hard to learn later in life.
There is very little emotional connection or empathy online, which can lead to a whole lot of mean interactions.
And, because there is no intonation or body language or context, even messages that were intended to be neutral or funny can be misinterpreted and hurtful.
Real friendships happen in person. Online friendships…take up space and time, can be seriously hurtful and are, in the final analysis, shallow.
Advantages of in-person communication:
When your friend is with you in the same room, you can practice active listening, reading body language, and showing empathy. All of this leads to higher emotional intelligence, which is essential for building deep friendships, romantic relationships and business success.
When problems come up, instead of “ghosting,” you can actually talk and figure out how to resolve the conflicts and become even better friends.
Online life is all about multi-tasking. In person, we focus.
The more we play and learn in person with our friends, and the more successful we are at building relationships by communicating well, the more self-confident and happy we become.
Okay? You’ve got this! And…probably a good idea for you to put your devices away for a bit as well. We like the Dinner Time Phone Basket, the All Devices Charge in the Kitchen Overnight, and the Saturdays are for Family rules. If you’ve got some others that work well for your family let us know!!