Texting toddlers missing out on development of real-world social skills

My three-year-old cousin sat on the couch crying for his mother’s attention, while she sat on the rocking chair reading across the room.

Right away, my aunt handed my little cousin her iPhone and he grabbed it excitedly.

For the next fifteen minutes, he just stared and touched random buttons on the phone his mother had just handed him.

Scenes like this occur all across the country every day.

An easy solution to stop children from crying is to just give them a smartphone and they will instantly be distracted.

Because of this, children even under two years old can become obsessed with phones.

According to a 2013 study, 72 percent of children under 8, and more than a third of children under two have used smartphones or tablets.

Additionally, the children under two spend an average of 15 minutes every day using these devices.

In 2011, only 38 percent of children under 8 had used mobile devices or tablets.

We can only imagine what the numbers will be like in a couple of years.

Communication skills are disappearing.

Teenagers and adults use phones frequently, and many times they are found in situations where instead of communicating with the people around them, they are just staring down at their phone screens.

But giving phones to babies is much worse. The brains of toddlers are developing rapidly, and play and interactions with others is what sparks the development of speech, listening, and general communication skills.

Face-to-face interactions are the primary way that kids learn and gain knowledge.

Screen time takes away from physically exploring the world through play and conversing with others.

It is also theorized that if a child relies on technology to communicate, then his or her social skills will weaken and the child may become detached from other’s feelings.

When kids under two years old are crying to play on a phone, we know there is a problem.

Nothing has been proven about the effect of smartphones and tablets on the development of children because it is a very new phenomenon.

However, humans are made to communicate, interact with, and help each other. If over time, children spend less and less time actually conversing and playing, the communication skills that humans have always had will be lost.