Multitasking – is it really that bad?

 

With the ever-expanding technological world and the rise of smartphones, its no doubt that we as the users are becoming more and more disengaged with everyday life. To find a plethora of laptops, tablets and smartphones then look no further than the average University classroom. These devices have led us to be using them whilst completing other tasks or even operating multiple devices at once, with a 2013 study showing that 71% of Australians are multitasking whilst watching the television; this leads us to question just how long will this trend last, and how will it evolve? Just how does this affect our ability to communicate face to face without the help of a device?

There are several existing arguments both for and against the ability to multitask in the workplace, at University and at home. On one hand there are suggestions that it can be distracting and limits full concentration on set tasks whereas other arguments state that multitasking can enhance productivity in the workplace as well as completing more than one task at a time.

In order to derive some explanation as to whether multitasking is detrimental and may become a thing of the past, its important to focus on a specific media central domain, such as University. Studies have suggested that if you’re doing more than two things at once, then you’re unable to complete these tasks at full capacity. This can be extremely detrimental to the average Uni student, who is trying to finish several assignments on time whilst simultaneously checking social media, texting their friends or answering emails. Clifford Nass is a cognitive scientist at Stanford University who specialises in interface design and who studied the multitasking habits of students and the results were as he put it, “a damning indictment”. The findings showed that the multitasking students struggled to filter relevant information from irrelevant information, the students who were classed as “high multi-taskers” poor mental organisation skills and experienced difficulty differentiating between tasks they were presented with and overall multi-taskers had poor social skills due to their lack of attention to details in personal conversations it was suggested.

These findings accompany several other opinions that on the whole, multitasking can be extremely detrimental to a student’s overall concentration and ability to complete tasks to their full potential. But when will we ever take the time to complete tasks one at a time, devoting our full attention to them? With the ever-popular social media rise and new and improved personal devices it’s difficult to predict what lies ahead.

References:

Brandon Keim. 2012. Is multitasking bad for us?. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/is-multitasking-bad.html. [Accessed 13 September 14].

Deloitte. 2013. Multi-device consumption has come of age: Australians are digital omnivores. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.deloitte.com/view/en_au/au/e4cd62fc7673f310VgnVCM2000003356f70aRCRD.htm. [Accessed 13 September 14].

 

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