You Are Ruining Your Child With So Many Baby Selfies (Says Psychologist)
We so don't blame you for being tempted to take four million selfies with your baby – they are just too darn cute not too, aren't they?
The thing is, turning the smartphone camera lens inward is also engendering self-centered behavior in children, according to educational psychologist and parenting expert Dr. Michele Borba. And worryingly, he says, this "selfie culture" has the potential to disrupt kids' emotional and social development, especially when face-to-face interaction is replaced with FaceTime and Snapchat.
"You have to have a face-to-face connection in order to read emotional cues and experience where the other person is coming from," said Borba in a recent interview with The New York Times. "It's finding ways to make sure there are opportunities where your child won't lose the critical core skills of not only empathy, but connection and social skills. We’ve failed to realize that all of those social skills are learned and they need practice."
Time to put down the phone, mamas?
Borba is also concerned about technology's impact on empathy, or the ability to understand and share the feelings of others—thinking in terms of "we" instead of "me." Being too concerned with oneself (something our selfie-obsession is a great proof of), Borba thinks is often a result of children constantly being laden with praise to the extent they forgot there are other people in the world too. "They become more and more dependent on our praise."
To install kindness and a greater sense of empathy in children Borba suggests reading emotionally charged fiction to them. Or playing games. Or simply get better at emphasizing the importance of kindness on a day-to-day basis. This could be as simple as instead of asking them "What did you get on your test today?" when they come in from school, instead ask: "What nice thing did you do at school today?"
What do YOU think? Are we more self-obsessed than ever? And are we raising a generation of kids that will be even more concerned with themselves and less with the welfare of others?