Human beings are social in nature and hence make friends and relationships right from the beginning of life itself. Some may say that a baby’s first cry is an attempt in being social as is the powerful eye-to-eye and then the captivating smile. Children find it easy to make friends. Being social also happens to be an essential part of growing up.
But why is it so important? According to a psychologist from Russia, Lev Vygotsky says that children are ingrained in different socio-cultural contexts and their cognitive development is advanced through social interactions with more skilled individuals.
But lately, peer interactions among children have been falling down. The reason for this has been cited as lack of quality time to engage in pay, pressures of competitive activity classes and an increase in screen time and often a lack of siblings as well. Poor peer relationships also increase the risk for future adjustment problems, that include dropping out, delinquency and emotional problems. Interactions among other kids help them begin to establish a sense of self and sense of others that is essential for the development of empathy.
To appreciate the impact of social connection on the state of our body, we may consider what happens when it is abruptly cut off. When a person is socially isolated, as it is a basic human need, the body will perceive the situation as a threat and release stress hormones. The long-term release of these hormones over an extended period has been proven to increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, elevated blood pressure, and cognitive deterioration. Children who have good social relationships have been known to have greater self-esteem than those who do not and are less likely to experience mental health problems including depression and anxiety.