I’ve often wondered what all this high-tech multitasking among various digital devices does to our minds and social skills. Really, you can’t go anywhere without seeing someone engaged in several text conversations at once, checking their Twitter or Facebook accounts, or watching streaming video while at the same time supposedly watching TV.
There have been many times I’ve threatened to toss a cell phone out the window when a text comes in overnight or my husband misses everything I’ve just said because he’s texting while we’re having a conversation (at least I thought we were having a conversation).
Now a new study finds that tween girls who spend many of their waking hours checking their Facebook pages, sending text messages or watching YouTube are more likely to develop social problems, according to the study published in Developmental Psychology.
Young girls who spend the most time multitasking between various digital devices, communicating online or watching video are the least likely to develop normal social tendencies, according to the survey of 3,461 American girls aged 8 to 12 conducted by Clifford Nass, a Stanford professor of communications.
Apparently kids, young girls in particular, need to spend more time interacting with people face-to-face to learn about emotion and develop social skills. This doesn’t mean carrying on a conversation while texting at the same time, but good old-fashioned look-each-other-in-the-eye conversation.
I think the same holds true for adults.
A few years ago, Nass studied how multitasking affects adults. He found that people who regularly switch among different forms of electronic information have more trouble focusing and remembering things than those who spend less time multitasking and prefer to complete one task at a time.
When so many of us struggle to keep our minds clear and focused, all this multitasking between electronic gadgets probably isn’t doing us any favors. We think we’re accomplishing more and staying on top of things…work schedules, kids’ schedules, maintaining our social lives. But in reality, are we really less focused and productive?
Readers, what do you think?