Digital Citizenship Tip of the Week – 11/18/2014

CS_supporter_school-MEDA Tip on Media Multitasking and Concentration: Kids these days are all too familiar with media multitasking; that is, they can switch between multiple windows on a laptop, DJ the background music, and keep track of a buzzing iPhone all while “focusing” on a homework assignment. The constant presence of technology makes it difficult to eliminate these types of distractions, but studies have shown that multitasking decreases our ability to process and retain information, as our brains toggle back and forth between short bursts of focus. While it is important for kids to develop the skills to independently navigate our multimedia landscape, precautions can be taken to encourage focus and concentration. 

1. 
Propose an experiment: Mention to your kid that you notice how distracted he gets by his phone while trying to do his work, and propose strategies for eliminating distractions during homework time. Offer to do these experiments with him, and see which strategies improve your own focus. 

2. 
Get some distance from the distraction: While many teens have trouble separating themselves from their phones (and risking being disconnected from friends), a constantly buzzing phone is the antithesis of concentration. Suggest placing the phone in another room for a select period of time, or putting it on ‘silent’ and face-down on the table during time set aside for focused work. 

3. 
Try self-regulation apps to eliminate distractions: While learning to self-regulate is an essential skill, kids often need support, and many welcome tech solutions to help them manage their time. Look into apps like “Self Control,” which blocks internet access to sites you blacklist for a preset period of time, or “Think,” by Freeverse, which illuminates one browser window at a time, allowing the user to maintain focus on a singular page. Find other parental control features at:https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/new-parental-controls-nix-the-fear-up-the-features 

To learn more about distraction, multitasking, and time management, check out Common Sense’s Case Tutorial on the subject:
https://www.commonsensemedia.org/videos/distraction-multitasking-time-management-case-tutorial-connecting-families

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