The Importance of Face to Face Communication

July 9, 2015 Published by

Amanda Gummer talks to parent

Being able to tell what people really mean, or if someone is lying, is an important skill to have. But like any skill it needs practice. Dr Amanda Gummer is one of many experts in child development who believe that over use of solitary, screen based play may be preventing children from learning to read subtle cues, and develop the ability to understand another persons true meaning or motivations. This can increase the risk of being conned, lied to and exploited; and no-one wants that for their children.

Children need opportunities to practise face to face communication, and make up their own minds about the validity of what someone is saying or why they may be saying something that you believe isnt true. Children need to practise their ability to work people out and learn who they can trust.

Dr Amanda Gummer has some tips for parents who want to help their children interpret other peoples communications effectively:

1. Talk to them about bias in news and how to critically evaluate a piece of information

2. Teach them the common giveaways that people display when they are not being honest – flared nostrils, avoiding eye contact etc.

3. Give your child three equally plausible statements, one of which is false, and see if they can guess the lie by watching and listening to you carefully

As well as being able to interpret other peoples communication, its important that children are encouraged to be honest in their own communication. By letting children know that you are able to tell when they are lying, youll be helping to motivate them to be more truthful. Children may not at first realise how you know they are lying, but trust your instincts – were programmed to be able to read a wide range of verbal and non-verbal cues when assessing the veracity of a statement, and most of these are processed subconsciously. The chances are as long as youve had plenty of practice at listening to your children telling you something, youll know instinctively if what he or she is saying is not entirely truthful.

playing-sussed-card-game-at-table

Parents can share their own experiences of being conned, or avoiding it, but children learn best through play. Games such as the newly released Sussed? Lifeology are great for helping people ‘suss’ each other out and learn more about each other, whilst trying to gauge whether someone is being completely honest with their answers or not.

Fun family games like this are a big hit with the children and professionals from the Good Toy Guide, who have awarded Sussed? Lifeology the coveted Recommended status.


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This post was written by Dr Amanda Gummer

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