A parent comes into therapy saying their child needs help being social. “Teach social skills. My child does not interact with other kids.”
But when you sit down with the child, the child is able to interact and seems to know how to interact, with perhaps some anxiety. When you ask about friends, however, the child says that they have a lot of friends. “Where do you know these friends?”
This situation occurs more and more and more. A parent believes their child has no friends or isn’t being social. The child is social, just not in the way the parent believes is appropriate or acceptable. The question is, should the parent be concerned? Is there anything wrong with having friends you have only met digitally. Millions of people have sought out support through online forums, with friends they have never met. These include addicts, kids and adults coming out about their sexuality, suicide help, and even finding people just to love them. I am always fascinated by the value differences between parents and teens, and consistently technology and cell phones and Internet comes up as a key reason behind communication difficulties.
As an aside, there is actually an app (check it out here) that allows people to text and see where they are going at the same time. No more running into people or falling into fountains!