We’ve all seen people on a train, at a restaurant, waiting in a doctor’s office, sitting in traffic even, with their eyes glued to a phone, rather than being aware of their surroundings or interacting with other people. Yes, even adults struggle to maintain a screen time-real time balance of activities. Still, young children who are true digital natives spend even more time online and on screens, thus making social skill development and interactions with others even less likely to be practiced and honed.
First, it is essential not to throw the baby out with the bathwater — not all screen time lacks social interaction! Young people often interact using FaceTime/social media apps, video gaming with friends using headsets, and texting one another. However, ALL young people need to develop the life skill of appropriate attention and engagement social skills to help build and maintain their relationships and eventual employment, which will require social skills.