Does A Child's Use of Technology Doom Their Social Skills?

August 29th 2014

Lindsay Haskell

A recent UCLA psychology study found that a child's reliance on digital technology can impair his or her social skills. By analyzing a group of 105 school children, researchers found that kids were able to read people's emotions in photographs and videos better after spending a week with no access to electronic devices.

This new data is alarming, considering the amount of time young people devote to digital media. According to the American Time Use 2013 Survey, television is the number one leisure activity for people age 15 and older, accounting for an average of 2.8 hours a day. In addition to television, the average American spent roughly 34 hours on their mobile device in just one month and nearly 27 hours on their computers during that time span, Nielsen reports.

How will this inability to read emotions affect the younger generations? For one, it could mean trouble networking to find jobs. Although online networking has become a new strategy for job-searchers, it is often the first step before meeting in person. When networking face-to-face, a survey showed that out of 152 small business owners, 72% were influenced by a potential employee's handshake and how they presented themselves.

Lack of social skills does not only affect possible job opportunities, but also people's overall happiness. Researchers have found that people with strong social connections suffer from less stress-related health problems and can recover from illnesses faster.