Are youth losing the ability to communicate face-to-face? A worried mother and student of media recently put that question to Boston Children’s Hospital’s Mediatrician, Michael Rich, MD, MPH, director of the hospital’s Center on Media and Child Health.
In his reply on our sister blog Thriving, Rich does not paint a comforting picture:
[Young people] have more connectivity than ever — and far less connectedness to others and to the world.
Not only are they disconnected in the moment, but this focus on devices can hinder their development of the social skills needed to communicate with others in-person.
But the issue is more nuanced than just too much time with screens:
Mobile phones are just tools and, used in healthy and safe ways, can help us communicate and stay connected (or reconnect) to people we love and can help us form new relationships with others all over the world. Technology only distances us when we misuse these tools by allowing them to come between us rather than connecting us.