The Downside of Multitasking

The New York Times yesterday had the first of a series on your brain on computers. The newspaper profiled a family and its patriarch going over the edge and paying the price. See “Hooked on Gadgets, and Paying a Mental Price.”

Yes, it’s long and all that multitasking you’ve been doing may make it hard to sit still and read to the end. But it’s worth your time.

Also worth the time is an accompanying blog featuring researchers and others commenting on the story. It’s at the Room for Debate Blog.

Note especially how vulnerable children and their developing brains are to the addictive properties of multitasking. (Adults are vulnerable, too, because it seems our brains continue to evolve).

We’re already pretty restrictive here when it comes to technology time, but the stories have convinced me to keep those barriers in place without backing down. We monitor cell phone and text use and, when it intrudes on homework or is excessive, simply engage parental controls either limiting time of stopping all texting.

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