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He’s a little shy.” The parent is stepping in to make the situation less stressful for their child, but a simple act like that can exacerbate the disorder because it does not help the child learn to manage the feelings and anxiety such an interaction invokes.
Understanding that social phobia is a gateway disorder to depression, substance abuse, and lifetime impairment, we must make it a priority to identify it when children are younger.
Shyness is a temperament; it is not debilitating the way social anxiety disorder is.
A shy child may take longer to warm up to a situation, but they eventually do.
Also, a shy child engages with other kids, just at a different level of intensity than their peers.
In contrast, children with social phobia will get very upset when they have to interact with people.
As children grow and mature, they learn how to avoid being the focus of attention at school or home; as a result, their extreme discomfort in social situations can go unnoticed.