This is Your Teen’s Brain on Technology and Multitasking (O’Brien, 2011)

Via Boing Boing, a clip from PBS Newshour discusses the effects of technology on teen’s brain and their multitasking abilities. Why am I mentioning this is because Daphne Bavelier (University of Rochester) was featured in the final quarter of the video.

This is rather interesting as some of my fellow graduate students discussed the implications of new media technologies on society, although I forgot the details, something along the lines of the Chicago school. There is another methodological implication: media multitasking. The impression I get from the few articles I skimmed in regards to general media use is the absence of measuring multitasking during media use. I understand that videogame use implies  complete attention to a videogame because both hands are in use, however the video makes me reconsider how we measure playtime. For sure, measuring older media use (i.e. radio, television, newspaper) needs to be restructured to take account of mobile media (i.e. cellphone, portable DVD players, Ipod) or media used as a “secondary” or “background”. For example, radio, today, is used as a “background” medium where we listen while doing something else, like driving, writing assignments, grading. Reading a very old book, I understood that radio was at once like television, everyone pays complete attention to the radio which is completely incomprehensible to me (why would you sit around a soundbox while your eyes are just staring at an unmoving object?).

 

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