Screen time and social life: aim for balance
Screen use can help children build and maintain relationships and learn social skills. But for children of all ages, it’s important to balance socialising online with plenty of opportunities for face-to-face socialising.
Screen time and social life: young children
It’s best for young children to interact with others face to face. This is how they learn about non-verbal cues, eye contact, body language and other social and communication skills.
But screens can help your young child build relationships and learn skills too, especially when your child can’t interact face to face. For example:
- Using screens can help your child connect with other people. For example, your child could use video calls to keep in touch with family members who live a long way away.
- Playing games can help your child develop social skills like taking turns and playing as part of a team.
- Sharing screen time with you builds your relationship with your child. For example, playing a game or watching a show together turns screen time into family time, especially when you talk about what you’re playing or watching.
Screen time and social life: older children and teenagers
Screen use can help your older or teenage child build relationships and develop social skills in several ways:
- Using screens can help your child connect with other people. For example, social media, Skype and FaceTime let your child keep up with friends. Instant messaging or voice chat in online multiplayer games can do the same, when your child is playing with people they know.
- Playing games can help your child develop social skills. For example, playing online multiplayer games like World of Warcraft, League of Legends, Clash of Clans and The Sims lets your child work as part of a team.
Social media is vital to teenagers’ and children’s social lives. They use social media to have fun, keep up with friends and family, share interests and explore identities. It does have risks like cyberbullying, but talking about social media use can help you keep your child safe.