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How Multitasking is Damaging Teenagers’ Productivity and Efficiency

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Multitasking has become a common practice among teens in modern day society. There are products that cater to the multitasker to make the “task” easier, such as computers with multiple monitors, beds with built in TVs, Bluetooth headphones, and smart watches. Like anything, there is always a cause and effect, and multitasking is no exception. One should be wary of the effects of multitasking, so they can learn how it is affecting them and those around them. Some may never know why they cannot accomplish their work in time. It could be caused by their tendency to multitasking or a mental disorder, but they would not know until they looked into their issue.

American teens have become multitasking aficionados. Due to the recent generation growing up around easy access to the internet, phones, and other electronic appliances, multitasking has become the preferred style of working. There are a multitude of products and programs available to use in the activity of multitasking, which makes it all the easier for one to do so instead of focusing on one thing at a time (Paul). Previous generations did not have the technology available, which sets apart the way some of them function while working.

Researchers wonder if multitasking is actually effective and how it affects the way people think and do things. They say “there is not any solid answer yet to whether multitasking helps, hurts, or has no effect on teens’ development”. Larry Rosen, a psychology professor at California State University, performed an investigation on students and the way they studied. He observed students for a period time and took notes every minute on what the students were working on, what tabs the students had open on their computer, and other activities they had on hand. The extra activities included browsing social media, texting friends, watching videos, and more. Only 65 percent of the study period, on average, was used to do their actual work (Paul). This is a major difference when comparing to one giving their undivided attention to the task at hand.

Essentially, multitasking is when one has a main objective and adds one or more unnecessary distractions on the side. Neuroscientist Karin Foerde says ‘everyone has a sense that something is happening that’s different than before’ when they multitask, which, in turn deceives the brain into thinking it is accomplishing more. These distractions take up large quantities of one’s working memory. They also cause a decrease in executive function or the ability to determine what tasks are more important. This can be seen as a form of temporary self-induced ADD. ADD or attention deficit disorder is a developmental disorder that prevents the effected from focusing on one task at a time for extended periods of time.

Multitasking is not only used for its feeling of accomplishment; it is considered by some to be fashionable. This is due to multitasking being “not as boring” as doing homework by itself. Some also believe that since they have spent so much time multitasking, their brains have developed differently to fit the new work method. Though they may be correct about their brains developing differently, it is not for the better. Constant exposure to such conditions may cause one to not fully develop certain essential motor skills, the ability focus for long periods of time being one of them.

It is important to know how excessive multitasking affects the mind. If one does not, he/she could end up in a rather unfavorable mental state. Or they could be lacking in necessary skills for later on in their life. “Multitasking is overrated – I’d rather do one thing well than many things badly. Quality supersedes quantity every time.” 

Works Cited

Aratani, Lori,”Teens Can Multitask But What Are Costs”, Washington Post, Washington Post, Feburary 26 2007, www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2007/02/25/AR2007022501600.html

Bradley, Karen,”Can Teen Really Do It All?”, nais.org, Jennifer Brokeman, nais.org, summer 2011, www.nais.org/magazine/independent-school/summer-2011/can-teens-really-do-it-all/, March 28 2019

Keim, Brandon,”Is Multitasking Bad for Us?”, pbs.org, NOVA, PBS, October 3 2012, www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/article/is-multitasking-bad/, March 28 2019

Paul, Annie,”How Does Multitasking Change the Way Kids Learn?”, KQED News, KQED News,May 3 2013, www.kqed.org/mindhsift/28561/how-does-multitasking-change-the-way-kids-learn/, March 28 2019

Sicinski, Adam, and Adam Sicinski Adam. “The Universal Law of Cause and Effect and Its Impact on Your Life.” IQ Matrix Blog, IQ Matrix, 11 Dec. 2018, blog.iqmatrix.com/law-of-cause-effect, March 28 2019

Stafford, Stewart, “Multitasking Quotes (39 Quotes).” Goodreads, Goodreads, www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/multitasking, March 28 2019

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