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I think your take is valid, but also missing large areas.

Even if they AREN'T bullied for lack, they'll miss out on all the socialization. When I was a teen people talked on the phone, they hung out at the mall. I barely did. When not at school, I stayed at home to care for my younger brother and make sure dinner was made (child of a working single mom). I went out of state to my dad's place every summer, so I never spent summer vacation around my school peers.

Now I'm an adult, and I don't have close friends. I never have. I don't know how to open up to people, or how to hang out with people where it isn't an obligation on one part or the other. I remain aloof, then desperately overshare (case in point), then feel awkward and embarrassed and withdraw. I've had two serious relationships in my life...and got married both times.

Today's kids won't be talking on the phone, they won't be texting, they won't even be tweeting, they'll be snapping or instagramming or any number of things. They'll be sharing the experiences they have in common and generating those experiences, and for many, MANY of them those experiences will be around smartphone tech.

And this author has decided their kids don't need that shared experience. That comes at a cost.




Counterpoint, I had all the socialization I could possibly want growing up, and as an adult I had to unlearn a lot of social behaviors that I had learned when I was surrounded exclusively by my peers.

I personally think that socialization is often meant as "acting like the popular kids act" (though it doesn't sound like you're using it that way) and as my kids grow up, I am regularly shocked at how crappy kids are to each other. When I was a kid, I thought all the homeschooled kids I knew were weird, but they just acted like the adults in their lives, and without exception, they all turned into well-functioning adults.

Despite my negative take on socialization, though, we are also very liberal with technology. We just have high standards for their behavior, and don't think that following trends is good for it's own sake.


I think you're taking a problem of "opportunity + practice = success" and pointing out that you had opportunity but not success, and therefore opportunity is irrelevant.

> socialization is often meant as "acting like the popular kids act" (though it doesn't sound like you're using it that way)

My usage is more a matter of "understanding the social skills that are not formally taught". In particular, I'm talking about things like understanding social cues, when/how to be supportive, etc. There are absolutely negative social skills that can be learned this way, so you're correct there. But even a gang of jerks has social structures and interactions, and someone that never got much practice/exposure at those will struggle to even succeed in joining a gang of jerks. (Not that doing so is such a great aspiration)

> I am regularly shocked at how crappy kids are to each other

Totally. I recall previous articles (I believe on HN) about how parents hate the shows on the Disney channel because they demonstrate/teach terrible social skills for tweens. (Bratty children, idiot parents, etc).

Putting kids in a group won't teach them how to be good people and I didn't mean to imply that. It _will_ teach them to be a social group. These ideas are orthogonal.


Thank you for your reply!

I mostly wanted to provide a countervailing anecdote rather than any sort of fixed rule.

I would say that I definitely had success, by your definition of social. I've never had a problem making friends, but socialization as a kid didn't benefit me long term because being social with pre-teens and teenagers is useless training for being social with adults in a professional environment, which is where I now spend most of my time. I basically had to learn to be social all over again.

So I guess I take issue with the idea that people need to be around their peers to learn to be social at all. I agree that social skills are not formally taught, and that they need to be learned, but I think all that is required to accomplish this is that children are around people who interact with them. If they have that, I think the cost of them not being involved in whatever kids these days are doing is not that high, and definitely not as high as they might think it is in the moment.


> being social with pre-teens and teenagers is useless training for being social with adults in a professional environment

I don't think I agree, but I've been spending some brain churn on this since you posted it so I'm not 100% settled on it.

It's definitely an interesting element to consider, thanks for going to this depth!


yeah, but let's not mix too many things together.

you can have a smartphone (I don't) and be very miserable and lonely (i’m not). I bet that's even the daily experience of a lot teenagers.

A smartphone may help to get in contact with people, but it's not a necessity by a far stretch.

Again: a (sometimes painful) emotional and social education is what teenagers need. Soft skills are hard to learn.


Being a student, it really quite is a necessity.

Group chats on Facebook / WhatsApp / Telegram are how people share experiences, learn, set up meetings or parties. All the people which I've met so far who didn't use those platforms were socially isolated. Not sure whether it's correlation or causation, it still does count.

Obviously, having a smartphone won't magically bring you friends.


Anecdata, but I had the exact same experience refusing to use Facebook when it was trendy (was really young at the time). I caved after a year and it was like stepping into another world.

> Obviously, having a smartphone won't magically bring you friends.

No it won't - it's not necessarily social death to avoid these platforms, but it was an intense struggle to grow any friendship without it. You need to go where the people are talking to each other, even if you dislike where they're standing.




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