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Social-emotional Development in the Digital Age

by Linda C. Whitehead
July/August 2017
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Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/social-emotional-development-in-the-digital-age/5023616/

Most early childhood educators have had to defend the importance of social and emotional development at some point in their careers. It may have been with a parent who felt pressure to have an academically-prepared child and who was concerned her child’s program included too much play. Or it might have been with the principal of an elementary school who was arguing for the importance of science and math instruction over social-emotional skills. Today, children have fewer opportunities for face-to-face social inter­actions and negotiations as technology pro­liferates with the use of texting, video games, and movies on tablets, tele­vision, and smartphones. And yet the social and emotional needs of ­children haven’t changed. Teachers wonder how to support children’s social-emotional growth in the digital age. What is an early childhood educator to do? 

In a world where collaboration and negotiation skills are critical on interpersonal, community, and global levels, it feels safe to say that social and emotional skills will always be needed. Individuals with a strong ability to share, negotiate, work with others, and act with compassion will continue to be in high demand. We don’t know yet all of the skills that today’s preschoolers will need in the workplace of 2030 ...

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