Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Apps To Teach Kids Social Skills...No

I read an article from the “Real World” magazine titled “Inventive Games That Teach Kids About Empathy and Social Skills” and it is about “educational” apps and games that are supposed to help kids learn how to be social and learn empathy. As a kid that may be a part of one of the last generations that wasn’t bombarded with technology as a kid I have to say I have a problem with this. I don’t think it is right for kids to be learning their social skills and empathy from games and technology. I firmly believe that children should be learning those skill sets from actual, human interaction. Social interaction via technological means is not the same as if you were to have a play date with another child and have them play outside, or even things as simple as board games.
            At 20 years-old I cant possibly say that I am exempt from the addiction to technology. I have an iPhone and a laptop, my phone is just about always connected to me and feel I would maybe be a bit lost without my social media and technology. There is a huge BUT in that statement. Although I love my technology and all my various social media outlets…I did not learn my social skills from technology. As much as I love my technology…I love human interaction, I love working in groups with people in class, I love hanging out with friends or co-workers and just having human interaction and conversation.

            I am not a parent yet, so I haven’t had to experience the ever-alluring draw between children and technology but I cant imagine I would be content with my children being all about socializing through technology. Socialize in real time with real children that are right in front of you. Play outside, get dirty, play board games directly with another kid. I don’t agree with this breakthrough apps to aid children in their social skills. Socialize children with real life interaction.

Full Article Here


  1. I totally agree with you. Trying to socialize children by having them interact with a computer is beyond counterproductive. If one is aiming to establish social skills within a child, wouldn't the obvious course of action be to bring the kid around other kids? Not only would this effectively socialize the child, but maybe the kid could go out and get some exercise... its the thing that happens when you move your body. However, this program could be really effective for kids that have learning disabilities or autism, and for that I say OK.

  2. I agree with you on the front that this kind of program could be useful for kids with learning disabilities or those kids that truly can not be in a social environment or absolutely need a different course of learning these skills. But a child that is not predisposed to "fail" (and I use fail loosely and with no intent of offense, one of those things like "real") has no need to be learning these skills through technological outlets. I just cant agree that that is the right course to go about that. That thing that happens when you move your body...incredible isn't it? I do like that you brought up children with disabilities. I think that that would truly be a good use for these kinds of apps, but otherwise, I just cannot condone it. But hey! I don't have kids...I just don't see that opinion changing....well ever. I was raised in the woods, playing outside until I absolutely was not able to stay outside anymore! More of that, less technology for kids! Woo!

  3. I would be curious to know why we wouldn't want machines teaching social skills to our children if we could ensure that they would exactly replicate human interactions and/or exactly teach the skills as we human want them to be taught. Is there something about the tech itself that throws you off, something about it being "not real," or is is something about how you think the kids will turn out? If the tech can exactly replicate human interaction, would it still be wrong somehow? Why?


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