Do you allow your child to spend hours on the computer each day? Perhaps you worry a bit that he’s in front of the screen too much, but reassure yourself that he’s learning skills that will prepare him for the high-tech work force of the future. Not so fast. While there may be some merit to a child learning how to use a computer, spending tons of time surfing the web and playing video games could be eroding your child’s skills in other areas. Here are a few indications that your child’s online activities may be stifling his communication skills.
### The computer is his favorite source of entertainment
If your child’s favorite thing to do is play on the computer, then this may be the first sign of a real problem. Offer your child a variety of different activities to choose from including reading interesting books and hanging out with friends offline. These activities will enhance his verbal and written communication skills instead of robbing him of these abilities.
### He talks in computer-ese
Have you recently had a conversation with your child and failed to understand the majority of what he was trying to tell you? Many children who spend too much time on the computer end up speaking “computer-ese.” That is, they talk the way they chat, using abbreviations and acronyms instead of real words. Help your child understand that while there is a place for this type of language, it’s important to be able to speak properly as well.
### He neglects friends and family
If you have a hard time getting your child to come to the dinner table, or if he turns down opportunities to spend time with his friends in favor of playing on the computer, then there may be a problem. The computer is a great tool for certain types of communication, but it will never replace real human interaction. If your child spends too much time online (especially at an early age), then he may not ever develop interpersonal skills such as eye contact, proper body language, and of course, the ability to carry on a conversation.
If you’re worried that your child’s computer time may be stifling his communication skills, then there are steps you can take to reverse the damage. The first thing you should do is limit the amount of time your child spends on his PC each day. Worried that you won’t be able to monitor him 24/7? Don’t fret. Instead, consider downloading a free parental monitoring app such as Qustodio. You’ll receive detailed reports concerning your child’s computer usage, so that you’re always informed, even when you’re not at home. Visit our website today, and take the first step towards improving your child’s communication skills.