Multitasking may harm the social and emotional development of tweenage girls, researchers say
When it comes to media use, the researchers' guidance: All things in moderation. Credit: L.A. Cicero
(Medical Xpress) -- Too much screen time can be detrimental to girls 8 to 12 years old, but there is a surprisingly straightforward alternative for greater social wellness.
But these unwanted effects might be warded off with something as simple as face-to-face conversations with other people.
The researchers, headed by education professor Roy Pea and Clifford Nass, a professor of communication, surveyed 3,461 girls, ages 8 to 12, about their electronic diversions and their social and emotional lives. "The results were upsetting, disturbing, scary," Nass said.
The girls, all subscribers to Discovery Girls magazine, took the survey online, detailing the time they spent watching video (television, YouTube, movies,) listening to music, reading, doing homework, emailing, posting to Facebook or MySpace, texting, instant messaging, talking on the phone and video chatting as well as how often they were doing two or more of those activities simultaneously.
This video is not supported by your browser at this time.
The researchers asked 3,461 girls, ages 8 to 12, about their electronic diversions and their social and emotional lives.The girls' answers showed that multitasking and spending many hours watching videos and using online communication were statistically associated with a series of negative experiences: feeling less social success, not feeling normal, having more friends whom parents perceive as bad influences and sleeping less.
The researchers say that while they found a correlation between some media habits and diminished social and emotional skills, a definite cause-and-effect relationship has yet to be proved.
The research was published this week in a special section of the journal Developmental Psychology.
A time for social development
The survey findings are bad news, given that the 8 to 12 age range is critical for the social and emotional development of girls, and because children are becoming active media consumers at an ever-younger age.
But the survey also asked the girls a different, and very important, question: How much time do you spend participating in face-to-face conversations with other people?
The answers, Nass said, indicate that Mom and Dad should consider reviving the well-worn parental admonishment: "Look at me when I'm talking to you!"
Higher levels of face-to-face communication were associated with greater social success, greater feelings of normalcy, more sleep and fewer friends whom parents judged to be bad influences. Children learn the difficult task of interpreting emotions by watching the faces of other people, Pea said. It's hard work, he added, and is unlikely to be done if everyone at the dinner table is peering at the screens of their smartphones.
Advice for kids
Nass has some advice: "Kids, spend time, when you are with other people, looking at them, listening closely, and see if you can tell their emotions. And if you can't, that's OK, but it means you have some learning to do.
"When we media multitask, we're not really paying attention to the people around us and we get in a habit of not paying attention, and thus when I'm talking with you, I may be hearing the words but I'm missing all the rich, critical, juicy stuff at the heart of emotional and social life."
Children's media choices are changing in a new context of always-on media; neither they nor their parents have ways of self-regulating the extent of their media use and media multitasking, said Pea. "All things in moderation" is his guidance for both children and parents.
The happy-face emotional slant of most Facebook postings doesn't help, either, he said. As shown in other Stanford University research, seeing the ubiquitous positive postings of online friends can lead to the erroneous conclusion that "Everyone is happy except me," Nass said.
The good news
There is good news in the recent survey, however. For the negative effects of online gorging, "There seems to be a pretty powerful cure, a pretty powerful inoculant, and that is face-to-face communication," Nass said.
"Kids in the 8-to-12-year-old range who communicate face-to-face very frequently, show much better social and emotional development, even if they're using a great deal of media."
The research was a follow-up to a 2009 experiment that demonstrated that media multitaskers were not really doing two things at once and were paying a mental price for trying. "They're suckers for irrelevancy," Nass said then. "Everything distracts them."
Provided by Stanford University
- Docs urged to discuss Facebook with kids, parents Mar 28, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Study finds people who multitask often bad at it Aug 24, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Facebook or MySpace, youths' use reflect face-to-face interactions Jan 25, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- US university experiments with social media blackout Sep 15, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Social networking's good and bad impacts on kids Aug 07, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
How can there be a term called "intestinal metaplasia" of stomach
8 hours ago Hello everyone, Ok Stomach's normal epithelium is simple columnar, now in intestinal type of adenocarcinoma of stomach it undergoes "intestinal...
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
Ratio of Hydrogen of Oxygen in Dessicated Animal Protein
May 13, 2013 As an experiment, for the past few months I've been consuming at least one portion of Jell-O or unflavored Knox gelatin per day. I'm 64, in very...
Alcohol and acetaminophen
May 13, 2013 Edit: sorry for the typo in the title , can't edit I looked around on google quite a bit and it's very hard to find precise information on the...
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
Youth who had a schoolmate die by suicide are significantly more likely to consider or attempt suicide, according to a study in published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal). This effect can last 2 years or mo ...
Psychology & Psychiatry 3 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Johns Hopkins researchers say they have discovered specific chemical alterations in two genes that, when present during pregnancy, reliably predict whether a woman will develop postpartum depression.
Psychology & Psychiatry 11 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
A Mediterranean diet with added extra virgin olive oil or mixed nuts seems to improve the brain power of older people better than advising them to follow a low-fat diet, indicates research published online in the Journal of ...
Psychology & Psychiatry 20 hours ago | 3.5 / 5 (2) | 2
More people are being diagnosed with eating disorders every year and the most common type is not either of the two most well known—bulimia or anorexia—but eating disorders not otherwise specified (eating disorders that ...
Psychology & Psychiatry 20 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Turns out, that old "practice makes perfect" adage may be overblown. New research led by Michigan State University's Zach Hambrick finds that a copious amount of practice is not enough to explain why people ...
Psychology & Psychiatry 21 hours ago | 3.3 / 5 (12) | 0 |
Researchers at USC have found that a class of pharmaceuticals can both prevent and treat Alzheimer's Disease in mice.
1 hour ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Variation in the gene MUC5B among patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis was associated with improved survival, according to a study published online by JAMA. The study is being released early online to coincide with i ...
12 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
As many as 35 percent of Mexican young adults may have a genetic predisposition for obesity, said a University of Illinois scientist who conducted a study at the Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosί.
14 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
A study of veterans at high risk for developing lung cancer shows that low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) can be highly effective in helping clinicians spot tiny lung nodules which, in a small number of patients, may indicate ...
8 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
Among patients with acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) requiring hospital admission, a 5-day glucocorticoid treatment course was non-inferior (not worse than) to a 14-day course with regard ...
9 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
African-Americans are less likely than whites and women are more likely than men to have had a prior diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) regardless of their current disease severity, according to a new ...
9 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0