Kids, drop those iPhones, pick up a book and look around

How times have changed. We, as children, were glued on to books for hours and couldn’t keep down the crayons while filling colors in a book. These days, children are glued on to their smartphones for hours playing games and are unable to log off from their social media profiles. While our generation sweated countless hours on the field playing sports, children these days are doing it all except on their smartphones by swiping left and right with their fingers. And this is affecting not only their reading abilities but their ability to read nonverbal communications.

According to Dr. Clifford Nass, a creative communication professor at Stanford University, kids are spending so much time looking into their screens that they are not learning other skills necessary for one-on-one interactions. From social anxiety to less reading, the reasons for this are myriad. According to Scholastic’s biannual Kids and Family Reading Report, 75 percent parents with kids aged between 6 to 17 said that they wish their kids would read more books for fun. The study points out that kids’ activities have shifted more towards using a cellphone, visiting social networking sites, online shopping and playing games on their gadgets. 71 percent parents wish that their child would do more things which did not involve screen time.

And screen time is affecting children especially their nonverbal communication skills. An integral part of human history and many cultures, reading what others have to say by gazing at their facial expressions, raised eyebrows, tone of voice is something which is not seen in today’s kids. And fingers, of course, are pointed towards technology. According to a Pew Research study, a quarter of teenagers are online almost constantly.

As the mode of communication has shifted from face to face communication to texting, there has been a rapid escalation in disturbing habits. Books have been an integral part in our learning and thought process. And even if reading is not their thing, children should have an exposure to face to face conversation which will keep their social intelligence at a high. Books, at least, are a good place to start.

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Sue Miles’s story.