Thursday, December 2, 2010

How Distracted Can Teens Get and Still Function?

Early this week David shared this New York Times article with me, which is definitely worth discussion:

Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction
Published: November 21, 2010

As a distractable (yet pretty productive) person myself, I found this article very interesting.

Sam Crocker, Vishal’s closest friend, who has straight A’s but lower SAT scores than he would like, blames the Internet’s distractions for his inability to finish either of his two summer reading books. “I know I can read a book, but then I’m up and checking Facebook,” he says, adding: “Facebook is amazing because it feels like you’re doing something and you’re not doing anything. It’s the absence of doing something, but you feel gratified anyway.” He concludes: “My attention span is getting worse.”

And its not just the busy that seems to be the problem, but the effects of not getting true rest:

In that vein, recent imaging studies of people have found that major cross sections of the brain become surprisingly active during downtime. These brain studies suggest to researchers that periods of rest are critical in allowing the brain to synthesize information, make connections between ideas and even develop the sense of self. Researchers say these studies have particular implications for young people, whose brains have more trouble focusing and setting priorities. “Downtime is to the brain what sleep is to the body,” said Dr. Rich of Harvard Medical School. “But kids are in a constant mode of stimulation.”

If you want to see a great visual representation of how wired in teens are, watch the movie Easy A (I caught it at the Crest last night and thought it was the best teen movie I've seen in ages)...the gossip scene are a wonderful embodiment of the way teens have not just become wired in, but to each other.

Can they disconnect when they need to? Can you?

1 comment:

Ms. Yingling said...

I still can't understand how my three teens can listen to music and do homework. I do limit their screen time so they have some hope of functioning as adults!