Over the weekend I went out to eat with some of my friends at our local Applebee's. As I was talking with my friends and waiting for my food, I glanced over to find a scene that seems to be becoming all too familiar:

A young child sitting on one side of the booth with an iPad in her lap while her mother ate her food in silence.

It's no surprise that technology is growing and that our phones have become almost as important to us as health, but when does it get to be too much?

Children aren't developing social skills

When I first saw the child on the iPad I didn't bat an eye.

It's so normal that it's not even questioned anymore. When I did start to get bothered was when I noticed, about ten to fifteen minutes later, that the child hadn't touched her food and her mother had ordered herself a martini. There was no connection and almost no relationship between the mother and child. I didn't see them interact or have even a simple conversation at all.

Applications like Snapchat and Instagram, are preventing Children, who are as young as six, from developing the necessary conversational skills they need in life. Communication is done strictly over applications and the company of others has become almost a thing of the past. A child can't carry a conversation anymore unless it involves memes or the newest slang.

The web isn't always kid-friendly

There are many different social media platforms and websites that are designed to be aimed at children, but there is only so much censoring that can happen. Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube don't have the necessary parental controls to be able to shield their child from mature media.

A parent can prevent their child from having a certain app, but they can't prevent other children from exposing media and information to other children.

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Where do we go from here?

Is there anything we can do to solve this technology-consuming problem? Taking away the technology won't solve anything and will probably just end up leaving you with a very aggravated and aggressive child, because "everyone else has the iPhone 8!"

Designating family time could be a simple solution. Everyone puts away their electronics for an hour or two and sits as a family.

Play some games, watch a movie, do arts and crafts, or even talk about your day for this hour to help your child to develop relationships and conversational skills. Your child might not like it, and odds are they probably won't, but your child will thank you one day for the hour you took out of their day to build a connection with.