Tough call: Book or Facebook?
| Nov 22, 2010
On the eve of a pivotal academic year in Vishal Singh’s life, he faces a stark choice on his bedroom desk: book or computer? By all rights, Vishal, a bright 17-year-old in Redwood City, California, should already have finished the book, Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle, his summer reading assignment. But he has managed 43 pages in two months. He typically favors Facebook, YouTube and making digital videos.
Students have always faced distractions and time-wasters. But computers and cellphones, and the constant stream of stimuli they offer, pose a profound new challenge to focusing and learning. Researchers say the lure of these technologies, while it affects adults too, is particularly powerful for young people. The risk, they say, is that developing brains can become more easily habituated than adult brains to constantly switching tasks — and less able to sustain attention. Read more of this lengthy article by Matt Richtel in The New York Times online.