Technology is shaping the way we live and interact with each other, but as it becomes an increasing central in daily life, researchers have begun to wonder about the affect it has on the happiness and emotional development of the next generation. Unfortunately, according to a recent study from Stanford University, it's not looking good.
An online survey completed by 3,400 girls aged 8 – 12 found that those spending a considerable amount of time using multimedia each day described themselves in ways that suggest they're less happy and socially comfortable than their less connected peers. Girls spent almost seven hours each day digitally connected compared with just over two hours engaging face-to-face with family and friends.
Are these girls less happy because of their multimedia usage? Or does their unhappiness lead them to increase their multimedia use as an escape from the 'real' world?
I'm an advocate of technology and love the connection and possibilities it brings into our daily life, but it shouldn't replace genuine face-to-face interaction with the world around us. Too often social and online media distils conversation down to an unnatural two-dimensional form where body and vocal cues cannot be expressed, stifling the growth of authentic relationships.
It's the relationships in life that make you happy, so unplug your kids - and while you're at it unplug yourself! Bring a little happiness back into your life.