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Friday, 14 October 2011

The Perils of Modern Technology?

Many thanks to Mr. Haigh from the Maths Department for alerting us to the MailBigFile blog – which carries a range of interesting articles on matters cyberspatial and technological. For example...

Boston College has recently published research findings which show that teenagers watching television whilst using a laptop tend to concentrate for an average of just 14 seconds on one before switching to the other. Adults over 40 did not fare much better, switching on average every 17 seconds.

It is perhaps not surprising that people are easily distracted when electronically multitasking, but do these findings suggest that a generation brought up on i-phones, TV and laptops may find it increasingly difficult to learn how to concentrate and focus?
Another MailBigFile article highlights the dehumanising effect of social media - suggesting that whilst it gets easier to keep in touch, we become more isolated as people engage in less personal contact.

A telling example is cited of Julianne a 41 year old teacher (sounds familiar?), who ‘talks’ to hundreds of ‘friends’ on the internet about her isolation. She has always suffered from low self-esteem. She has no partner, no children and is in a cycle of misery that exacerbates her social problems. She teaches, but knows few people, as colleagues tend to socialise with their own families. Her parents are elderly; she is lonely. Occasionally she goes on drinking binges…
With social networking sites and increased use of language-destroying ‘txting’ are we storing up social problems for the future by whittling away the need for basic human interpersonal skills and face to face contact – or are we simply evolving new and better ways of communicating and keeping in touch?

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