A technology toss that’s hurting deeper thought
As I went to start this article, I opened a Word Document, typed the topic I planned to write about and immediately went to my Twitter, all while I Facebook stalked classmates and spoke on the phone to my boyfriend. This multitasking is my normal routine while trying to get anything of importance done.
Multitasking is a societal norm for college students today. With constant advancements in technology, it’s hard not to get sucked in while trying to complete tasks. While we prepare for tests or do our homework, we can’t help but log onto Facebook or Twitter, check our email, play games, text, listen to music and watch TV.
We even do it when going out with our friends by checking our phone every few minutes awaiting a new text message as we take a bite of our favorite meals. We are all guilty of it, but why are young people especially susceptible?
According to psychologist Gloria Cantor, there is a belief that employers are looking for employees who can multitask because that is posted in many job listings. However, Cantor believes this to be untrue.
“If what you want from your employees is productivity or creativity, you won’t get it if you’re constantly interrupting them or asking them to focus on two things at a time,” Cantor said. “Multitasking allows only lower levels of brain power to be focused on each task.”
All the additions made to technology is another reason society has become obsessed multitasking. Years ago, we didn’t have iPods, smart phones and tablets right in our pocket. We didn’t have the ability to see what our friends are doing, what the weather will be like, what sales are going on at our favorite stores and how our favorite sports team did, with just a few quick clicks. Technology has made multitasking convenient and easier to only pay partial attention to the tasks at hand.
Seton Hall University junior Evangelia Loizos said that upgrading to a smart phone this past year has made her productivity level decrease.
“It’s opened up a whole new world for me,” she said. “There are so many apps and I play Angry Birds every chance I get. I feel like I’m addicted and I can’t stop.”
With the addition of handheld technology, 20-somethings have become hungrier for instant gratification. When it comes to writing research papers, students are more likely to search online for information instead of taking time out of our days to go to the library and take out books for the topic because we lack the patience to complete such a time consuming task. Ithaca College senior Katelyn Wright explained the Internet is her primary resource when researching.
“I always look up sources for papers through Google,” she said. “I don’t think I’ve ever looked up books in the library without being required to.”
The final reason Cantor gave for multitasking is boredom. My own boredom led me to multitask and find the definition of multitasking as, “the art of distracting yourself from two things you’d rather not be doing by doing them simultaneously.”
In response to this definition, Cantor explained that while we may think we are making our work easier by adding another task, it is ultimately be detrimental.
“We don’t feel like doing work, so we watch television at the same it make it seem less tedious,” she said. “The problem is, it takes us longer to do the work, and we do it poorly. Plus, we don’t really enjoy the TV show because we keep missing the best parts.”
This raises the question: If we know multitasking hurts us more than it helps us, then why do we continue to participate in it as a society? According to Loizos, it’s because it’s a habit that’s hard to break.
“We’ve already been introduced to it,” Loizos said. “It’s hard to go back when we’ve become so accustomed to living our lives this way.”
Lindsey Ahern is a junior journalism major who could use an extra pair of hands. Email her at lahern1[at]ithaca[dot]edu.