Information Overload?

Do you ever wonder if you spend too much time online or find that multitasking makes homework feel like it takes forever?  Do you end up getting less sleep because you’re texting, chatting or surfing or because you find that your brain can’t seem to shut itself down for the night?

The NY Times has an entire series devoted to such topics called “Your Brain on Computers.”  In An Ugly Toll of Technology: Impatience and Forgetfulness, a Dr. Kimberly Young is referenced for comparing net addiction to eating disorders.  Even adults are at risk for various problems involving our ability to parent and nurture as is highlighted by  The Risks of Parenting while Plugged in –there was a comparison between said addiction and alcoholism the way a parent might say to an objecting son/daughter “just one more text” while driving.   

In Attached to Computers and Paying a Price, we read of families missing big business deals, family problems and lower grades.  According to the article, “At home, people consume 12 hours of media a day on average, when an hour spent with, say, the Internet and TV simultaneously counts as two hours. That compares with five hours in 1960, say researchers at the University of California, San Diego.

If you’d like to test your own ability to focus, the NY Times features this test.  If you think you might be addicted and would like to find out more, check out the Net Addiction site.

For what it’s worth, I think technology can be helpful for practicing Spanish and staying up to date on your progress at school.  It’s even useful for contact between teachers, students and parents (at times).  What I take away from the NY Times series is how essential boundaries are in terms of when/where my family and I are plugged in–there have to be concrete limits for us not to get lost and fragmented.

NB: Richtel also did the 2010 Pulitzer Prize Winning Driven to Distraction series about driving and devices. Check out the online game/simulation to test your driving/distractedness.

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