Study Says Media Multi-tasking May Hurt Girls’ Social Skills

Photo Credit: Discovery Girls Inc.
I can relate to this article because I have two teens in the house and this is something that we've discussed before.

Technology is a HUGE part of our lives—and it’s here to stay. That’s why it’s important that we all understand the results of the Stanford University study that was conducted with the help of Discovery Girls’ readers.

The researchers, led by Clifford Nass, a professor of communication, and education professor Roy Pea, surveyed 3,461 Discovery Girls’ readers ages 8 to 12 about their electronic diversions and their social and emotional lives.

"The results were upsetting, disturbing, scary," Nass said. (Click here to read the entire article on the study.) The girls' answers showed that multitasking and spending many hours watching videos and using online communication were statistically associated with a series of negative experiences:

    Feeling less social success
    Not feeling normal
    Having more friends whom parents perceive as bad influences

We’ve all seen the groups of kids all frantically focused on their gadget screens, even when they’re hanging out with their best friends. In fact, the study showed that girls spend an average of 6.9 hours a day using electronic media and only 2.1 in face-to-face interactions. No wonder many of our girls say they feel more comfortable online than talking in person!

Sadly these online friendships don't teach them the social skills they need to find friends more easily in real life.  Talking face-to-face is a dying art, and one these kids will will someday wish they'd learned.

There’s good news, though, too. "Kids in the 8-to-12-year-old range who communicate face-to-face very frequently show much better social and emotional development, even if they're using a great deal of media," says Dr. Nass.

We’re sure you want to do everything you can to help your daughter acquire the face-to-face social skills that she she needs to feel confident—and we want that too. Discovery Girls' mission has always been to teach girls the skills they need to become successful and confident young women.  We'll continue to focus on articles on developing social intelligence, we'll help teach her to use technology in a way that helps her, not hurts her—and we'll give her the skills that she will need to develop happy, healthy, face-to-face friendships.

 I want to thank Discovery Girls for allowing me to post this new study!