It would have been easy to be alarmist with this piece. You wrote it with a perfect tone. Not too alarmist, and with understanding and compassion. No blame. Not “technology is evil”. Just thoughtful.
I have a 11yr old and 10 year old boy. We are doing our best to keep them social. The modern notion of play dates makes it even more challenging.
There is also the challenge of modern mobility. We live in an area where neighbor churn is high. One of my son’s best friends left after just a few years. And both boys have found it difficult to connect to any kids in the area.
School connections are challenging also for our kids. All of the schoolmates have busy lives. We all want our kids in sports of some kind — so that sucks up play time. Then we want our kids in robotics or some sort of after school thing .. and although my partner and i try to keep all these obligations at bay, that does not mean our social circle is able to avoid the “give our child a treadmill of activities” disease.
As a parents, we do our darndest. And we plan to keep our boys away from phone addiction and social b.s. for as long as we can. We monitor internet usage and neither of them even have email addresses nor phones yet. They don’t even chat with players on their console games.
I think modern parents have the challenge of keeping engaged with their kids. Keeping up with the communication technologies and setting boundaries.
And believe it or not, we left our 11 year old son and a 12 year old girl alone in his room. Exactly for the reasons you write about. To give them the opportunity to be human, communicate, get uncomfortable, and whatever else could happen