How Technology Lowers Emotional Intelligence in Kids

September 11, 2023
David Sunnyside

Emotional intelligence, or EQ, is a broad category of skills that include self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation and empathy. People can develop their EQ, just as they can learn to read and write, by practicing these skills.

The problem is, our digital world has made it increasingly difficult to practice these skills in real life. Research shows that the time kids spend on digital devices is linked to decreased emotional intelligence (EI). EI has four dimensions: empathy, self-awareness, social skills and stress tolerance. Among these, one of the most important is empathy, which involves understanding and responding to other people's emotions.

Parents can help children increase their EQ by encouraging them to spend more time engaged in social and non-media activities, such as reading, playing outside, listening to music and engaging with friends. They can also minimize their own screen use in front of kids, so they don't model a detached or distracted behavior that could negatively impact their kids' EI.

Technology is the application of knowledge to achieve practical goals in a reproducible way, including tangible tools like utensils and machines as well as intangible tools such as software. Some technologies are designed to improve human environments and solve problems, while others are simply entertainment devices. An example of the latter would be an iPod Touch, which comes with hundreds of kids apps that are fun and educational. It also allows users to play video games and listen to music.

David Sunnyside
Co-founder of Urban Splatter • Digital Marketer • Engineer • Meditator
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