Facebook came to life just as I was entering college. Our large group of high school friends split up to conquer the world, smiles still connected online. Years later, when we brush shoulders over the Holidays, catching up on the past couple years can be awkward. Is it strange if we already knew the gist anyway? We've seen relationships unfold and fall apart, babies born and grow up, career and travels, possibly without ever exchanging a comment, all because of the internet.
Clifford Nass, researcher and sociologist at Stanford University passed away this weekend. He is known for sharing his views that multi-tasking damages the brain and social skills of this era are declining. He begins his TedX talk using the Barney theme as a jumping point for the awkward social practices young people have learned in our culture. He ends with the phrase he wants us to bring back, "look at me while I'm talking to you."
My kids have phones, and hunch over them as soon as the bell rings. Snapchat is popular with many of these middle and high school students. You take a "selfie", text it to a friend, and it only lasts 5-10 seconds on their device... speaking of short attention spans! Interestingly, the app was developed by Stanford University students. A shortcut to expressing true ideas and emotions, another obsession to add to social media, texting, and the rest. A potential gateway to more dangerous expressions, but that's a different story.
Do you worry about the future of our culture and social interactions? What do we do for our kids?
Do you think the mind's ability to focus gets bruised by too much internet? How do you limit multi-tasking or screen time? Nass recommends that people spend 15 minutes on only the one stream they are checking. Example: you check your email compulsively. His cure: spend 15 minutes on your email only every time you check it.
Thanks for the wisdom, Clifford Nass. I hope that your findings are put to good use in today's society!
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Clifford Nass on Multitasking