Anderson Issues

Commentary on the Zeitgeist

The Minus of Multitasking

Posted by cookieseller1000 on September 28, 2012

With the technology available today, teenagers are convinced that they are excellent multitaskers. How many of you do your Precalculus homework, check Facebook, watch TV, and text at the same time?

Research shows that you can’t do two things simultaneously as well as you can do them separately. Your performance and your efficiency suffer.Teenagers are deluded into thinking that they are more productive. According to Zeng Wang, assistant professor of communication at Ohio State University, “They just feel more emotionally satisfied with their work.” The tediousness of doing a math problem becomes more entertaining  with a “like” on your new Facebook profile picture. To learn more, click here. Psychologist Darcy Smith says,

Humans can only focus on one thought or task at a time.  The concept of multitasking is actually a misnomer, as it involves continuous ‘switch-tasking,’ which is to say, moving back and forth between tasks.  The problem with (and the nature of) switch-tasking is that no one task gets our full attention.  Instead, tasks get our partial attention.  With each switch, it takes time for us to reorient to the task at hand.  At the end of the day, all that reorienting adds up to an enormous amount of time wasted and we feel like we’ve been on an intellectual treadmill for hours.

People are afraid of being bored. How many times have you seen people reach for their smartphone when they have as little as 30 seconds of  free time? Boredom can set the stage for creativity. We need to have some down time to contemplate our thoughts.  Researchers at Oxford, England’s Social Issues Research Centre believe that

“Informational overload from all quarters means that there can often be very little time for personal thought, reflection, or even just ‘zoning out.’ With a mobile (phone) that is constantly switched on and a plethora of entertainments available to distract the naked eye, it is understandable that some people find it difficult to actually get bored in that particular fidgety, introspective kind of way.” Read the rest of this article.

I see people walking on Town Lake and most are either on their phones or listening to their iPods. It’s as if people don’t exist unless they are technologically connected. We’ve become electronic addicts. The average teen sends 3,000 texts a month.

Experts say the same part of the brain is stimulated with both texting and using drugs, like heroin. Signs of being addicted to texting include: losing track of time, not eating or sleeping, ignoring other people or lying because of texting and always needing to receive more texts.

Let’s put down our phones. Take a walk. Enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells. Make a face-to-face connection with another human being.

One Response to “The Minus of Multitasking”

  1. andersonhsstudent said

    I think that this boredom and need to constantly entertain ourselves is a large problem in modern society. We are so addicted to technology and other means of escaping from reality that what is happening in the present is no longer as important to the virtual world we have created for ourselves. I find myself multitasking most of the time, but have started to realize that this is not productive and is actually detracting from the task at hand. I think that the drastic increase of Attention Deficit Disorder can be contributed to this multitasking and our society needs to recognize the negative impact the absence of boredom can have in one’s life.

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