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Multitasking contributes to dangerous teen school, social habits

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Compulsive multitasking causes teens problems with school.
Studies have shown that most American school age children, between the ages of 8-18, are now spending over eight hours per day using media tools.
“When I’m using the computer for homework I have another tab open, to Twitter or Facebook and I always go back and check it,” sophomore Lena Azzouz said. “I get distracted from my homework, and then I just get tired and go to bed.”
Many teens have their phones, computers or TVs right on the tips of their fingers.
“I think teens multitask compulsively because they have easy access to all kinds of technology,” counselor  Wendy Risner said. “Students always have to be glued to their cell phones, so they can be updated at all times about what is going on with their friends and family. Teens have to be entertained constantly either by their cell phone, iPad, computer or TV. I think the media and society have created this problem.”
Compulsive multitasking can cause effects in mind and social development.
“Teens social skills are negatively affected by non-stop texting.  Today’s generation of students are missing out on every day social skills because they don’t interact regularly with people.  They don’t make eye contact because they are too distracted by the texting, and they aren’t fully involved in the conversation.” Risner said. “Teens can miss out by not being fully present in conversation with others.  This worries me for students who are going to interact with people in their future jobs, but hopefully cell phones won’t be allowed on the job.”
Azzouz says it affects her sleeping schedule.
“It’s affected me badly,” Azzouz said. “I sleep at one in the morning, because I’m doing homework, but not really. I’m just on the internet.”
Multitasking can also affect a teen’s attention span over time.
“I have read a few articles where people are starting to study the effects all the technology and media have on the brain. Today’s teenage brains look different than those even 15 to 20 years ago,” Counselor Jennifer Spurgers said. “I don’t think any of us have as good attention span because of all the media available to us. I am definitely not a teenager and I find myself checking my phone all the time or getting on the internet during a commercial.”
Sophomore Michelle Ingle says that multitasking can helps her with work.
“I do my homework, listen to music, at the same time,” Ingle said. “Sometimes I get on the Internet while I’m doing those different things. The music actually helps me do my homework.”
Experts say multitasking is more of a habit than a necessity.
“I think a lot of teens truly are busy. I know of so many kids who are involved in multiple activities that take a lot of time,” Spurgers said. “In order to get everything done, you learn to do two things at once.”
Risner says a good start to ending multitasking is when you’re driving and set boundaries with people.
“I would encourage everyone before driving to put your cell phone in the backseat of your car where you can’t reach it,” Risner said. “This way you won’t be tempted to read or compose a text while driving.  To reduce stress for everyone, I would encourage people to try to focus on one task at a time. Also, set boundaries with people as much as you can so that you have as few interruptions as possible when you are trying to accomplish a task.  It will really help keep your stress level down if you can be fully present in the here and now. Remember that social skills are just as important for your future career as academics, and this is the first impression that employers will get during your interview.  So, be respectful and give people your undivided attention when they are speaking to you.”

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