The Digital Quagmire
October 1, 2012 — We live in a fast paced-world, characterized by ever-expanding and increasingly sophisticated technology. Today’s students have the ability to communicate instantly with one another, to access vast libraries and to store all of their communications in an electronic device no larger than the size of a small book. They can watch movies and TV on their portable electronic screens and peruse the latest music videos on YouTube while taking the train to and from classes. Students can tweet, text, surf the net, engage in Facebook messages and other social media around the clock, if they so desire. In other words, it is almost inconceivable to imagine today’s college students without all of their electronic gadgets and technology.
Yet despite today’s technological advantages there is growing evidence of their limitations in how they can interfere with the actual learning process. Within the myriad of cell phone calls, e-mails, text messages and tweets there is a steady stream of interruption, which interferes with the ability to concentrate, stay focused or to think clearly and creatively. This conglomeration of symptoms often describes the precipitation of “digital overload,” where frequent interruptions and trying to do too many tasks at the same time can lead to scattered thinking and high levels of stress. The challenge is finding a balance between being “plugged in” and making more time and presence in the other areas of life.
The key to achieving balance is to “unplug” periodically from this digital overload. By turning off your digital devices for 2 hours or longer on a daily basis it will help your mind, body and emotions to refresh and re-balance.
Foerde K, Knowlton B. Multi- Tasking Adversely Affects Brain’s Learning, Science Daily, July 26, 2006.