Multitasking and Our Children

I don’t know about you, but I worry about how connected we all are to our electronics, especially our children. On one hand, busy professionals express concern about the number of hours that they spend at work; that they feel obligated to be connected 24/7 and that they just can’t seem to work fast enough to get it all done.

multi-tasking_graphicOn the other hand, the same busy professionals who are also moms and dads who look at their teenagers and fuss that they are listening to something on their iPod while they text and do homework. We shake our head and wonder how they can do it all.

The reality is: they can’t. The negative impact that multitasking has on us is something that I comment on regularly. So it’s no surprise to me when I was sent an info graphic about the impact that multitasking has on online learning. The graphic illustrates the toll that multitasking takes on the quality of the “study hours”. Highlights include:

  • After 15 minutes of studying while multitasking, students only spent 65% of the time on homework
  • For every 1.5 hours spent on Facebook, GPA drops by 0.12 points
  • During a 30 minute video lecture, students who texted more than 16 times scored 10.6% lower than the students who sent 15 or less

Is the technology to blame or do we need to step back and ask ourselves “what are we teaching our children”? After all, as parents our children see us juggling many things at once on a regular basis. Whether it’s the morning routine of unloading the dishwasher, packing up lunches, making breakfast and getting out the door on time or the post school flurry of activities, we regularly teach our children that multitasking is the norm.

How many times have you missed out on something that your child is attempting to share with you as you deal with your post-work reentry? You are busy unloading the thoughts of the day, getting dinner on the table, making sure everything is in place for the evening activities all while you ponder why the boss wants to see you first thing in the morning. We’ve all been there; I know I have. It isn’t until you see the child walk away shaking their head that you realize you’ve missed something. How often has that happened to you?

I’m beginning to think that we have taught our children too well. We have taught them that it’s okay to multitask and that as a result of that multitasking we miss some things … and that’s okay too. But it’s not. Check out the info-graphic and the impact that multitasking is having on your student.