There is much talk of a change in modern youth – often referred to as digital natives or Homo Zappiens – with respect to their ability to simultaneously process multiple channels of information. In other words, kids today can multitask. Unfortunately for proponents of this position, there is much empirical documentation concerning the negative effects of attempting to simultaneously process different streams of information showing that such behavior leads to both increased study time to achieve learning parity and an increase in mistakes while processing information than those who are sequentially or serially processing that same information. This article presents the preliminary results of a descriptive and exploratory survey study involving Facebook use, often carried out simultaneously with other study activities, and its relation to academic performance as measured by self-reported Grade Point Average (GPA) and hours spent studying per week. Results show that Facebook® users reported having lower GPAs and spend fewer hours per week studying than nonusers.
This research article found that online use (multitasking) decreases academic performance. I guess that is a “duh!” Back in the day when I used to teach time management courses for corporations I used to preach that time saving devices are really time shortening devices. They just allow you to pack in more information in a particular space of time. The fact is that you really can only do one thing at a time. Unfortunately, I don’t practice what I preach and still multitask, now with droid phone in hand or pocket. I did get rid of my pager however!
Take this study into consideration and you consider your child’s study time. How should you set some limits on online use at home?