WellesleyWeston Magazine

FALL 2013

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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family matters "an unhealthy thirst for instant gratification" and 10 spend 5 ½ hours each day with media outside of school; when They use these devices to communicate frequently — 60 texts a day for you consider that they use media simultaneously (texting while watch- the median teen text user — with a variety of important people in ing TV, for example), the number expands to 8 hours a day. Teenagers their lives including friends, parents, teachers, coaches, and bosses. essentially live with technology. Eighty percent of American teens own We also know that kids' brains are highly sensitive to stimuli and a computer, while 78 percent own a cellphone and 23 percent a tablet. what they do impacts the wiring of their brains. "Experiences leave imprints on our neural pathways," explains Barbara Is Multi-tasking Making Us More Efficient? Fredrickson, a professor of psychology at the Ring tones and vibrations are constantly summoning us from work, play, and sleep. Are these little interruptions increasing our ability to get things done? Sadly, no. The research is clear; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "Any this distraction reduces our productivity. Neuroscientists explain that we actually practice "rapid habit molds the very structure of your brain in toggling" when we think we are multitasking, which means that our brains are shifting quickly back and forth between topics. Each switch requires re-immersion time and effort, which dimin- ways that strengthen your proclivity for that habit." ishes our capability. What is more, this toggling prohibits deep concentration, without which it Studies already show that our children's brains, is difficult for information to transfer from the brain's short-term to long-term memory. There are a few exceptions. When doing tasks that are completely automatic, like folding laundry, it is pos- specifically the frontal lobe, are developing differ- sible to watch TV or talk on the phone. But when it comes to texting while listening to a lecture, ently from ours. The question remains: Are these something is getting lost along the way. We l l e s l e y We s t o n M a g a z i n e | f a l l 2 0 1 3 PETER BAKER new neural pathways beneficial? 164

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