Media Multitasking

Media Multitasking

By Live Well Teens Team


Multitasking is common these days. In this blog post, you will learn about:
● Media multitasking
● Health effects
● The controversy surrounding media multitasking
●How to
avoid Media Multitasking

What is Media Multitasking?

Media multitasking refers to multitasking on electronic media. For example, if you watch a basketball game, send a text message, and try to write simultaneously, you are media multitasking. Many people media multitask because they assume that it would improve their productivity and feel busier. A review paper found that 29% of time online is spent multitasking and that teenagers around the world multitask.

Effects on Memory

A scientific report published in Psychonomic Bulletin & Review found that media multitasking prevents people from recalling recent or distant memories easily. However, the paper states that one potential cause might be the fact that heavy media multitaskers have more attention spans, which changes their ability to filter information. Thus, relevant and irrelevant information compete to get into the brain’s memory, thus reducing productivity.

Depression & Social Anxiety

A paper published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking documented a study of 319 undergraduates found that more media multitasking was associated with higher rates of depression and social anxiety after controlling for personality traits and overall media use.

Multitasking and Learning

“Research indicates that multitasking with media during learning can negatively affect academic outcomes…Studies investigating multitasking with media while learning (e.g., receiving in-class texts) have demonstrated a negative association with GPA.” This is because the student has to divide their attention between learning and electronic devices. Basically, multitasking negatively impacts learning.

Is it Effective?

As far as scientists know, media multitasking is not the best way to learn. The best way to get a task done is to focus on one task at a time and complete that task well. Then, move on to the next task after taking a 5-minute break.

Addressing Media Multitasking

  1. Do one thing at a time: No one told you that you must complete two things at once. In fact, taking your time on one thing might allow you to do it better. For your other task, set a time to do it.
  2. Notify your friends or record a study session: If you suffer from constantly checking texts and emails, set a time in which no one should contact you or a DO Not Disturb feature. Just ensure that the people who need to know this knowledge ahead of time – not five minutes before. Alternatively, you could record a study session and see how much multitasking you may or may not be doing.

In summary, media multitasking is a really bad way to work. You will be prone to distraction and your learning, memory, and even well-being are negatively impacted by media multitasking. However, this can be addressed through time management and planning.

This week, I challenge you to be aware of media multitasking, and keep track of how many times you media multitask during the week. Then, make sure to stop when you do notice it.

That’s all for this week. See you next time on Live Well Teens!