HOMEThe Digital You
POLLWhere Do You Stand?
QUIZTechnology in Your Life
VIDEO QUIZIs Technology Making Us Stupid?
FAQContinuous Partial Attention
|The Most Wired Place on Earth||
PROFILEA Day in the Life
|SELF ASSESSMENT||MORE READING|
Digital media have influenced almost every aspect of our lives -- how we work, study, spend leisure time, interact with others and understand the world. Their impact is so huge that we can hardly imagine our lives without these media anymore.
Online Resources include:
In this workshop, you will:
Where Do You Stand? The Multitasking Mind
In Multitasking at M.I.T. Sherry Turkle says that students are doing themselves a disservice in multitasking by not focusing enough on one thing.
After watching the video, rate your level of agreement with these statements. Click to see how others responded. Share your opinions by posting a comment.
QUIZ Be Honest: Do You Have a Balanced Relationship with the Technology in Your Life?
Learning Objective: Discover how balanced your technology use is with other areas of your life.
Procedure: Take the following quiz. Check "Yes" if you find that the statement describes your situation, and check "No" if the statement is not true for you. Remember: Be honest!
Based on your responses, you feel:
COMPARE TO OTHERS
Learn More. Read Why We Use Digital Technology in Our Lives to understand why some people become dependent on digital media.
Why We Use Digital Technology in Our Lives
Consider the many different ways we use digital technology and notice the benefits and drawbacks of each.
Something to Think About
Did You Know? More than 8 percent of Americans (that's more than 24 million people) acknowledge that they hide their Internet use or use the Internet to escape a negative mood. "In a sense, some people are using the Internet to 'self-medicate,'" said the study's author. "And obviously something is wrong when people go out of their way to hide their Internet activity."
Think About It. For some, the problem is with online pornography or gambling. But other uses of the Internet can be addictive as well. Compulsive use of the Internet to check e-mail, make blog entries or visit Web sites or chat rooms may be pleasurable in the moment but can lead to significant problems on personal and professional levels. Compulsive texting -- especially while driving -- can be truly dangerous. "We often focus on how wonderful the Internet is, how simple and efficient it can make things," notes Dr. Elias Aboujaoude, the lead researcher for the Stanford study. "But we need to consider the fact that it creates real problems for a subset of people."
Information Seeking. You're only one click away from the answers to all your questions. And you can find information so quickly and easily as long as you use the right keywords. Everything you ever wanted to know seems to be online. However, the ease of accessing information may tempt us to think that all worthwhile information is online, leading us to neglect other information resources (like books and films) that are not digital in nature. We may also be fooled into thinking that all questions have easy-to-find answers, and, if we aren't vigilant about our sources, we may find inaccurate or outdated information.
Just for Kicks. The Internet functions to spice up our lives. There's always a new video to watch or game to play. Online, we can have emotional experiences that are thrilling and exciting. There are so many new things to explore! With it, we may forget our worries and concerns for a while. Online thrill seeking may be safer than thrill seeking in real life. But when it becomes our main source of excitement, it may also lead us to avoid our responsibilities and duties.
Relationship Matters. The Internet is a type of social club. We can develop and maintain our friendships online, and that's important. It feels good to be socially connected to others. We can interact with people we've never met in person who share our interests. In some cases, we can feel more relaxed when we interact online. However, online interaction should not become a substitute for our existing real-world social relationships with family, co-workers, neighbors and friends.
Constant Connectedness. Sometimes when we're not using the Internet, we think about using it. If we can, we may check Facebook or e-mail many, many times a day. Because of the immediacy of the Internet, we might feel a sense of missing out when we're not connected. The ability to multitask online may make us feel like we should be multitasking all the time.
QUIZ Depth Perception: Is Technology Making Us Stupid?
Learning Objective: Find out about the impact of technology on cognitive development.
Procedure: After viewing "Depth of Knowledge," read the statements below and check those that reflect your opinion.
Learn More. Read Continuous Partial Attention to learn more about how technology affects attention and cognition.
Continuous Partial Attention: Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is continuous partial attention?
A: It's a fancy term for the process of continually staying busy, keeping tabs on everything while never truly focusing on anything.
Q: Is that like multitasking?
A: Continuous partial attention is somewhat different. When we're multitasking, we have a specific purpose for each task, and we are trying to do each task well. We shift between tasks, and that sometimes slows down our productivity. But when we're in continuous partial attention, we're scanning multiple dimensions of our environment constantly. We aren't switching back and forth between activities; we're doing lots of things all at the same time.
Q: It sounds a little bit exciting.
A: It is exciting. High levels of adrenaline keep us alert. That's why continuous partial attention can be addictive. We feel a psychological rush when we're engaged in it.
Q: So what's the problem with paying attention to everything all at once?
A: Continual partial attention is stressful. Being constantly on alert can actually impair cognition. Our brains were not built to maintain intense monitoring for extended time periods.
Q: What happens?
A: Many people who have been working on the Internet for several hours without a break report making frequent errors in their work. They notice feeling spaced out, fatigued, irritable and distracted, as if they are in a digital fog.
Q: What's the solution?
A: Awareness is the first step. Notice how much time you spend online and how much time you're continually staying busy. Pay attention to the signals your body is sending. Take time to stop and rest; it actually helps your productivity. Also, try focusing on just one thing at a time and notice how that feels different.
Think about it: How do you multitask? Does multitasking affect the quality or quantity of your work?
Source: Dr. Gary Small, Brain Bootcamp Blog, Psychology Today, Oct. 4, 2009.
Learning About The Most Wired Place on Earth
Learning Objective: The most wired place on earth is not the United States -- it's South Korea. This exercise helps you consider how your cultural background affects the way you view information about Internet and video game addiction in South Korea.
Procedure: Watch "The Most Wired Place on Earth" and compare your reactions to the reactions of South Korean educators who also watched the video. How are their reactions different from yours?
Yangeun Kim, Ph.D., Board Member, Game Rating Board
Starcraft, which is described as a "national obsession," is outdated information, and it is not the game that the majority of gamers play. While the rankings for online games are not revealed by game corporations, several sites, such as http://www.playforum.net or http://www.gametrics.com, calculate rankings of Internet games based on the usage by PC Bang along with other contextual information. According to the rankings by http://www.gametrics.com on September 2009, the market share of Starcraft in South Korea was only 7.25 percent, ranked third after Aion and Sudden Attack.
Jung-Im Ahn, Ph.D.
I think it is important for viewers to have a sociocultural understanding of PC Bang [Internet cafes]. PC Bang in South Korea is a place to socialize where young people meet up with friends and spend time with them. They relieve their stress by playing not only with the computer but also with their friends. This portrait is consistent with what the interviewees reported in PC Bang, who said: "Those who are addicted to the Internet do not come to PC Bang." Also, teenagers cannot stay overnight at PC Bang, because those who are younger than 18 cannot stay in PC Bang after 10 p.m.
YounHa Cho, Ph.D.
When South Koreans say that "My child is an Internet addict," it does not necessarily mean they are diagnosed as an addict to the Internet. It can be interpreted as "My child spends lots of time using the computer." In fact, most Korean youngsters do not have time to be addicted to the Internet. Yet even when these Korean children spend one or two hours on the Internet, many of their parents see them as addicted. American viewers should be aware of the fact that the word "addiction" has different cultural implications in South Korea than it does in the United States.
Gyongran Jeon, Ph.D.
The reason that these young people are obsessed by the Internet is because they have never learned any other leisure activity. So staff members at the Internet Rescue Camp try to teach [them] how to play without using the computer. However, the problem is that when the campers return home, they still do not have friends to play with, as their friends all have different schedules for their afterschool activities, tutoring and academic classes. Even if they can find some time to play together, it is impossible to find a space for them to play in, as South Korea is a very compact and crowded country. This leads students to spend lots of time on PC Bang.
Hyeon-Seon Jeong, Ph.D.
In order to understand young people's digital media culture in South Korea, it is critical to understand the educational environment in this country. In South Korea, children and teenagers have a hard time finding leisure time, as they are at school or other academic institutions for studies from early morning to late at night. They start their college preparation in elementary school. Since they have a tight schedule for tutoring and academic institutions after school and then return home between 10 [p.m.] and 12 [midnight], students cannot find the time to play with their friends. Therefore, for many students, the Internet is the only way to meet friends and play with them. The reason that many young people use the Internet and play Internet games must be understood within this context.
Ki-tai Kim, Ph.D.
The ways that young people perceive and experience the Internet are different from those of adults. While many adults have a protectionist perspective – that takes the form of worrying about young people’s Internet usage – young people consider the Internet as an integral part of their lives that comprises a huge portion of their culture. Unless parents and educators communicate with young people to learn about their children’s new Internet culture, difficulties may arise.
Learn More. A Day in the Life compares and contrasts the daily life of a typical teen in South Korea with that of a typical U.S. teenager. What surprised you after reading this?
Think About It. If you don't have a South Korean friend (or if you haven't been to South Korea), everything you know about South Korean culture is shaped by media messages. In fact, everything we know about the world comes from two sources: direct, real-world experience and mediated experience. Mediated experience includes information we learn from other people, books, TV shows, movies and the news.
When we have direct real-world experience, we are in a strong position to critically analyze mediated representations that explore a particular group of people. But when we lack personal or real-world experience, we depend on mediated representations for our understanding of the people who are different from us, whether they live close by or around the world. Seeking different points of view can help create a more nuanced understanding of other cultures.
A Day in the Life
Teens in South Korea face a far more stressful experience preparing for college admission than young people in the United States. High school is extremely difficult in South Korea. One proverb says: "If you sleep four hours a night, you will go to college. If you sleep five hours a night, you won't." While SAT prep courses are a booming industry in many U.S. school districts, in South Korea, preparation for the college entrance exam is grueling and long term, and more often than not, Korean parents spend a lot of money for extra classes in the evening and for private tutoring.
Here's a sample "day in the life" of two teen girls, one in South Korea and the other in the United States:
Print “A Day in the Life”
Now you're ready to answer the following questions to reflect on your own learning about The Digital You: Attention, Multitasking and Addiction.