Media and Media Multitasking
As this is a relatively new phenomenon (smartphones became common only in the last seven to eight years), researchers do not know the full extent of the impact of high amounts of media use or MMT. Given that children’s brains are developing quickly while they form these media habits, more studies are needed. Educators, pediatricians, and other professionals who work with children need to understand the neurocognitive effects and armed with that knowledge, develop guidelines for healthy media usage.
But even without further studies, colleagues who work in
schools have a great deal of anecdotal evidence that multitasking disrupts
concurrent learning. Furthermore, early
studies now show a correlation between high MMT rates and poorer working memory,
increased impulsivity, social anxiety, and depression.
These reasons alone are enough to make parents and educators think carefully about the amount of media usage that should be permitted at home and in schools. And until we understand all of the developmental implications, we should carefully monitor usage and limit children’s exposure to the media to reasonable levels. There is little doubt that children are forming habits that will impact their brain development. And there are already many signs that should give parents, educators, and pediatricians reason to proceed cautiously.
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