Multitasking teens may be rewiring their brains, warns a Washington Post story.
It’s homework time and 17-year-old Megan Casady of Silver Spring is ready to study.
She heads down to the basement, turns on MTV and boots up her computer. Over the next half hour, Megan will send about a dozen instant messages discussing the potential for a midweek snow day. She’ll take at least one cellphone call, fire off a couple of text messages, scan Weather.com, volunteer to help with a campus cleanup day at James Hubert Blake High School where she is a senior, post some comments on a friend’s Facebook page and check out the new pom squad pictures another friend has posted on hers.
In between, she’ll define “descent with modification” and explain how “the tree analogy represents the evolutionary relationship of creatures” on a worksheet for her AP biology class.
Call it multitasking homework, Generation ‘Net style.
Some neuroscientists “fear that the penchant for flitting from task to task could have serious consequences on young people’s ability to focus and develop analytical skills.” Developing young brains may get stuck in fast ‘n shallow mode, they fear.
There’s no research. For all we know, multitasking builds fast ‘n flexible thinking.
On Sand in the Gears, Tony Woodlief thinks teen stupidity is spreading because teenagers spend too much time with each other — in person and virtually — and not enough time with adults.
I’m not sure there’s any less adult interaction than in my generation, when teens talked to each other on the phone instead of texting each other. But I loved his intro:
I recently crushed the dreams of about 400 high school students. I was asked to give them career advice, and so I told them to stop believing that they can achieve anything they want simply by wanting it. “I Believe I Can Fly” may be an uplifting song, but it’s a stupid life philosophy. You can’t fly. If you study about ten times harder, and have an ounce of common sense, and work really long hours, then perhaps you can build yourself a plane, and then you can fly. Otherwise, get used to walking.
It was not altogether well-received. I think they are used to being told that they will achieve their dreams, as if dream-achievement is some kind of massive entitlement program, and one is enrolled in it simply by aching for things.
Via Constrained Vision.