If you’re on Facebook, you may already have seen the link to the story on why some researchers think that social networking may be bad for childrens’ brains. I confess I’m inclined to agree. Though I love Facebook — and I’ll write about why I do in my next post — I’m very aware of the fact that children (especially pre-teens and teens) are spending way too much time in front of “screens,” whether they’re computer screens, cell phone screens, or television screens. And I’m very uncomfortable with the fact that the social lives of a good many adolescents are now mediated by those screens and their limits.
I.e., seeing “how R u?” on a cell phone screen is just not the same as having a real person, with real eyes, and a real voice, and maybe even a real hand to rest on one’s real arm, say, “how are you?” — especially during difficult times.
In short, I worry that with the constant focus on an external screen, children will fail to develop both the emotional intelligence and social intelligence that our world so badly needs now — in the business world, the political world, and the domestic world. What do you think? Does social networking provide a net gain (for children) or net loss?