February 17, 2017

Just out that phone down

Daniel Levitin, in a Fast Company interview, states the case for unplugging pretty strongly and plainly.

These days, it’s pretty common to go out to a restaurant and see an entire family staring into their phones. What are some of the effects of this isolation and, based on the research you've done and seen, what might the impact be of changing these habits?

Levitin: The research on this is still in its infancy, of course. It's a somewhat new phenomenon, and so any data that we can get is helpful. I think that related to this, we've learned recently that kids who don't interact regularly with their parents but are instead put in front of educational or instructional television don't learn language properly. Language learning has to be interactive. It can't be just passive, receptive. I think we're also seeing that increasingly digital natives are reporting that they've got shorter attention spans than non-digital natives. Colleagues of mine at other universities who teach these large classes or even seminars say that in the last few years, a whole new breed of students come up to them during their office hours in the first week of class, say, "Professor, I have to read 20 pages tonight? I don't know how I'm going to do that. That's too much." They are accustomed to being constantly distracted and we know from neurochemical studies, people get addicted to that distraction.