Too much computer time may erode social skills

There is evidence that spending too much time online affects the way we interact with each other.  When the brain spends more time on tech-related tasks and less time exposed to people, social skills can become weaker.  The ability to read facial expressions, interpret body language and understand voice inflection may be reduced. This can lead to social awkardness, isolation and less interest in traditional classroom learning. 

Young people who are "digital natives", meaning they've been using computers since they were toddlers, are particularly prone to this phenomenon.  It is not unusual for young people to spend 6-12 hours a day instant messaging, texting, participating in forums and playing a variety of cyber games.  If your child falls in this category, it is important to set some limits and help them lead a more balanced life that includes regular human contact.

For more infoamtion on this phenomenon check out the new book iBrain:Surviving the Technological Alterations of the Modern Mind by Gary Small.