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Media Multitasking: Boon or bust for kids' learning?

Media Multitasking: Boon or bust for kids' learning?

American youth are now spending more than 7 1/2 hours a day interacting with computers, cell phones, video games, MP3 players, and other digital devices, but - since they use more than one medium at a time - they actually pack in 10 hours and 45 minutes a day of media experience. Adults, too, are engaging in intensive use of digital media at work and at play. And very young children are often introduced to digital media before they even learn to speak. All in all, the barrage of multiple media experiences adds up to a real-time experiment in human cognition and learning.

What does it mean to have portion of yourself "always elsewhere" and, for that matter, "never alone?" A group of scholars has begun to investigate this question, starting with a one-day seminar on media multitasking and its impact on children’s learning and development at Stanford University on July 15, 2009. Participants included recognized scholars from neuroscience, child development, cognitive science, communication, and education fields, along with business, policy, and advocacy leaders.

Journalist Claudia Wallis, regular contributor to TIME Magazine, summarizes the ideas brought to light at the seminar in a report, Impacts of Media Multitasking on Children’s Learning & Development, published by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop. The report includes an agenda for next steps by participants and for the larger research community.

courtesy of Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop