Danish kids opt for digital friends

Danish youngsters between the ages of 11 and 15 spend half as much time with their friends than they did in 1988, according to a new report. The National Institute of Public Health’s School Children’s Study 2010 found that most now choose to interact with others digitally via their personal computers.

“Many 11 year-old children are closed-mouthed and spend most of the afternoon at home in front of a computer screen with games, films and Facebook,” Pernille Due, research programme director for NIPH, told Berlingske newspaper. “There has been an enormous change in how children socialise with one another,” she added.

Anders Colding-Jorgensen, who specialises in social media psychology, said that the trend reveals how the social skills of modern children are being compromised by online technologies.

“Social media cheat the brain into thinking we are together with other people and that all of our social needs are being met,” Jorgensen said in a Copenhagen Post report. “But the body knows very well that it is just sitting still, totally without noticing body language, without noticing the nearness or scent of other people. It’s a little like drinking a cola, which also tricks the brain into thinking it is getting nutrition and vitamins,” he added.

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