“Do you think it's harder for children to learn social
skills nowadays? Why or why not?”

I definitely think that it is harder or children to learn
social skills nowadays. Learning social skills, like any
other skill, takes practice.

Fifty years ago, kids spent most of their leisure time playing
with other kids, giving them plenty of opportunity to practice
their social skills and also receive the well documented benefits
of play.

Unfortunately, kids nowadays (on average) spend much less time playing.
Children from the upper and upper-middle classes (a minority)
spend much of their leisure time being chauffeured from one
adult-run activity to another. While the vast majority of kids
spend most of their leisure time with TV/movies and to a lesser
extent video games and the internet, leaving much less time
for playing with other kids.

It's like if you want to become a good basketball player, but
live in a country where few people are interested in basketball,
chances are you wont get the opportunities needed to practice
basketball enough to get good at it. On the other hand if you
lived in a country where basketball is a national obsession,
you'll plenty of opportunities go get really good at it.

* * * *

“For children in past eras, participating in the culture of
childhood was a socializing process. They learned to settle
their own quarrels, to make and break their own rules, and to
respect the rights of others. They learned that friends could
be mean as well as kind, and that life was not always fair.
Now that most children no longer participate in this free-form experience —
play dates arranged by parents are no substitute — their peer socialization has
suffered. One tangible result of this lack of socialization is the increase in bullying,
teasing and discrimination that we see in all too many of our schools.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/27/opinion/27elkind.html?adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1313816977-QuOpN9XBQJBz9sIC1rHmHg

* * * *

The Kaiser Family Foundation has done another
media study "Generation M2: Media in the Lives
of 8 to 18 Year Olds", released January 2010.

http://www.kff.org/entmedia/upload/8010.pdf

http://www.kff.org/entmedia/mh012010pkg.cfm

According to the study, kids 8-18 are spending,
on average:

(From Page 2)

4:29 hours per day watching TV
4:54 hours per day watching TV/movies

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