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You Don’t Know How to Make Friends and Have Empathy for Others? How Gadgets Affect Children

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Modern children master gadgets almost from birth and know how to enter the right application, feed an online cat and install a new game. But what to do on the playground with sand, a shovel and another child is not entirely clear. This is how gadgets affect the emotional intelligence of a child.

Born and Raised With Screens

The ability to recognize and understand one’s own and other people’s emotions, to manage one’s behavior and relationships with others must be brought up in children from a very early age. But it seems that the Z generation, on the contrary, prefers to communicate with artificial intelligence. And it feels better in a computer game than surrounded by peers on the playground.

More and more parents whose children are passionate about video games, social networks, and new technologies fear for their offspring. This fear appears due to the stereotype. When a child is carried away by virtual worlds, emotional intelligence suffers. Real communication ceases to interest him.

Online Destroys Empathy

Emotional intelligence is a complex thing. It consists of many skills. Self-awareness, the ability to manage your emotions and actions, social skills and empathy. Digitalization, of course, affects these parties, but in different ways.

Technology is indeed changing self-awareness. The ability to recognize oneself as a person, separate from others. The personal boundaries of modern children and adolescents are blurred. They quietly share on social media what their parents would consider too personal.

Sociologists from the University of Salford surveyed 298 social media users. 50% of respondents said that social media worsened their lives and self-esteem.

On the other hand, this means that at least half of those surveyed believe that their lives have become better – or at least not worse. And this is also understandable. Social networks and online games provide a platform for creativity and self-expression. They allow you to form your image and become the best version of yourself (at least online). And finally, they bring people together and help them find friends. Games such as big bass bonanza slot are, for example, the kind of games that awaken emotions. The best way to know is to try!

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But it’s one thing to get to know a person, it’s quite another to create a strong friendship. This requires empathy. The ability to understand the feelings of others and empathize with them. And here the digital environment hinders rather than helps.

Electronic communication tools can make it difficult to develop an empathetic relationship with another person. Jennifer Aaker, professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and co-author of The Dragonfly Effect, analyzed 72 studies involving almost 14,000 college students between 1979 and 2009 and noted a sharp decline in empathy over the past 10 years.

Digital natives have a hard time with empathy. Some experts believe that the main reason for this is a decrease in sensitivity to shocking images. Fighting and shooting in games not only tickle the nerves, but also eliminate the element of horror.

Zombies On the screen Do Not Need to Empathize, They Just Need to Be Destroyed

And while video games, even the most violent ones, don’t provoke players to be violent in real life, they reduce our capacity for empathy.

Psychologist Sarah Konrath of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor found that college students’ self-reported levels of empathy have been on a gradual decline since 1980 and have plummeted over the past decade. At the same time, levels of narcissism are on the rise, according to a study by Jean Twenge, a psychologist at San Diego State University. Every teenager today is the protagonist of his own computer game. The rest of the participants, real or digital, are just extras with no need to sympathize.

Not Everything Is So Scary

Children today communicate in a completely different way than their parents. 10,000 hours of video games, 200,000 emails, 10,000 hours of cell phone calls, all before graduation. This is the reality, there is no point in fighting it. A person who does not know how to handle digital technologies will feel uncomfortable in the modern world.

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There is no need to demonize online, believing that games and social networks undoubtedly make life worse. Closing one door, they often open another. For example, teachers often complain that children who are accustomed to fast-paced games and engaging digital content yawn over familiar textbooks. But there is evidence that shows that the digital revolution may motivate students in other ways.

Children are much more engaged in school projects when they are encouraged to use digital media. No one wants to draw a wall newspaper or glue a model of a solar system out of ping-pong balls. But invite children to write a computer game about space or create a school blog, and they will work even during recess. This is how you can teach children to work in a team and master the digital tools for such work. For example, collaboratively edit a document for a blog or distribute tasks in a scheduler like Trello. This will definitely come in handy for them in the future, because the real project activity in the adult world is arranged in the same way.

Digitalization of learning, as well as leisure, is inevitable. The real and digital worlds are intertwined even among adults. It is difficult to imagine a parent who does not use instant messengers, video conferencing services and other more complex things in their daily lives. And this does not mean that they associate the interlocutor on the other side of the screen only with a set of pixels. Children also do not lose their sensitivity. For example, when playing online games, they can easily read the mood of a partner in the manner of the game or the communication of a friend in discord.

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Gadgets Are Harmful If Parents Use Them

The latest research from the University of California has shown that computer games, digital media and new technologies are not as bad for emotional intelligence as we used to believe. During the study, 400 parents of children aged 5 to 12 were assessed for their level of empathy, self-control, and the ability to recognize their feelings. In addition, parents described in detail how gadgets are used in their family.

It turned out that there is no direct connection between children’s emotional intelligence and the use of tablets, smartphones and computers. But those who showed a markedly lower level of emotional intelligence were children whose parents used mobile devices more often in their presence, without discussing what they saw.

In other words, it’s not so scary that a child plays games or sits in social networks without reacting to anything. It’s much worse if his mom and dad are busy with this.

The behavior of parents in relation to the “numbers” has more influence on the development of the emotional intelligence of the child than how the child himself uses technology. Children of respondents who have taken on the role of an intermediary between technology and a child are distinguished by high emotional intelligence.

So can technology turn children into a-social creatures devoid of emotions? Hardly.

Neither computer games, nor social networks, nor the IT hobby forms the personality of a child as noticeably as family relationships. Technology should improve the lives of children and help them prepare for life in the adult world. Therefore, parents do not need to forbid and fight, but to teach children a healthy attitude towards games, neural networks, social networks. So, be the example to follow for your children.

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