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    How digital technology and TV can inhibit children socially

    This is a discussion on How digital technology and TV can inhibit children socially within the Everyday Life forums, part of the Community channel category; How digital technology and TV can inhibit children socially - Telegraph Researchers discovered that depriving 11 and 12-year-olds for just ...

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      How digital technology and TV can inhibit children socially

      How digital technology and TV can inhibit children socially - Telegraph
      Researchers discovered that depriving 11 and 12-year-olds for just five days of all digital media – including television – left them better able to read others’ emotions

      Removing smartphones and gadgets from children for just a few days immediately improves their social skills, a study has found.

      Researchers discovered that depriving 11 and 12-year-olds for just five days of all digital media – including television – left them better able to read others’ emotions.

      Prof Patricia Greenfield, the senior study author and professor of psychology at the University of California Los Angeles, said: “Many people are looking at the benefits of digital media in education, and not many are looking at the costs.

      “Decreased sensitivity to emotional cues, losing the ability to understand the emotions of other people, is one of the costs.”

      Psychologists studied two sets of 11 and 12-year-olds from the same school, 51 who lived together for five days at a nature and science camp and 54 others.

      The camp does not allow students to use electronic devices.

      At the beginning and end of the study, both groups of students were evaluated for their ability to recognise other people’s emotions in photographs and videos.

      The students were shown 48 pictures of faces that were happy, sad, angry or scared, and asked to identify their feelings.

      The children who had been at the camp improved significantly over the five days in their ability to read facial emotions and other non-verbal cues to emotion, compared with the students who continued to use their media devices.

      The findings, published in the journal Computers in Human Behaviour, applied equally to boys and girls.

      The study’s co-author Dr Yalda Uhls, a senior researcher with the UCLA’s Children’s Digital Media Centre, said: “You cannot learn non-verbal emotional cues from a screen in the way you can learn it from face-to-face communication.

      “The research implies that people need more face-to-face interaction, and that even when people use digital media for social interaction, they are spending less time developing social skills.”


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      Re: How digital technology and TV can inhibit children socially

      I would have thought that children living together in a camp would have improved their ability to pick up social cues from others in their peer group and by extension those taken from pictures and photographs. Whilst I would agree that not having their attention engaged with a phone or tablet is beneficial in that it will increase awareness of their surroundings I would be sceptical of the conclusions drawn from this study.

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      Re: How digital technology and TV can inhibit children socially

      I believe that whilst our current devices, that can connect via texting or through the Internet, can provide a huge wealth of information, there is no substitute for physical human interaction.

      Getting on a bicycle and going for a ride around town, or getting on a horse, are great ways to get people of all ages out and about. They can both help people to mingle and get to know others and see places first-hand, instead of listening to comments from others that might be tainted.

      The simple act of walking to school has almost been consigned to history. How many people can remember arranging to meet with a friend in order to go together?

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