Teens like tech, but are they losing skills in the process?
It seems these days teenagers are glued to their phones and social media. Although technology can be positive, it's creating a gap in teenage development that has to be filled.
Experts say basic interpersonal and communication skills for teenagers and young adults are becoming lost in a sea of technology.
Dr. Jessica Patel is a Child Clinical Psychologist at Quincy Medical Group. She says if your children are doing well in school, keeping up with homework and properly interacting with family and friends social media use is probably in hand.
Dr. Patel said, "When you want to start paying attention is if you can't peel your child away from the cell phone, or if their grades start slipping or if it seems like they're talking to a lot of people online but they're not getting invitations to go anywhere, they're not getting phone calls from friends. That may tell you they may have these online relationships with online friends, but it may not be translating into a real life situation."
Dr. Patel said, "When you have to go to school or go to a new situation and make friends, some people are lagging in some of those skills.
Also be concerned if your child is so preoccupied with checking in on Facebook or posting the right picture that they miss out on the actual events going on around them.
Another sign is when kids use cell phones as a safety net in social situations. That's when parents need to step in.
Dr. Patel said, "At any point you have to remember that you are the parent and it's your responsibility to set the boundaries. So if you feel that your child is very disengaged and it's going too far, it's your job to set that boundary and have them turn off the cell phone or have times when they can't use their cell phone."
Dr. Patel admits teenagers won't be thrilled with limitations, but it's important for you to hold firm.
And speaking of real life, Dr. Patel says some teenagers and young adults are struggling with understanding social propriety-- knowing what's acceptable and what's not in public and in the workplace.
Some are using text messages and text shorthand to contact employers and professors. Others are answering calls and texts at inappropriate times and places including job interviews.
Talk to kids about cell phone ettiquette and start modeling it early on. More and more kids are growing up with technology, so they will be paying attention to where and when you use your smart phone.
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that if you do allow your children to use cell phones that you place it on airplane mode to avoid internet use for children.