Social media can be a useful tool, helping people connect with friends from the past, sharing information, and updating people on one's recent experiences. But online connections can also camoflage the importance of developing and nurturing real relationships. And for those who have difficulty with social skills, it can fool people into believing they have a large number of friends, while enduring the pain of loneliness and isolation.Starting as early as pre-school, the emphasis is on the development of social relationships and nurturing social skills, so that as one negotiates the elementary, middle, and high school years, one begins to form deep and meaningful friendships.
In my clinical work, I meet many people who are “connected”, spending numerous hours on phone, tablet and computers. But most of these people are still left longing for genuine human contact. Often, they do not consciously realize how much is lost through online connection. Approximately 80% of our communication is non-verbal. The best emojis do not make up for tone of voice, a certain look or a gentle touch.
All of us try to make connections. We all want to get along with work colleagues. We want closeness with family. We want people we can share our thoughts with and with whom we can have positive experiences. What we need to let our children know is it is not the number of friends we acquire, but rather the qualities in the people we call our friends.We look for attributes in people. It takes time and effort to nurture close and lasting friendships. We select our friends with tremendous care. Some may be there for us more than others. We need to let our children know that all they need are a few people who care, that the number is not important, but the qualities do matter.
Feb 17, 2016, 9:58 AM