Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Addicted to Distraction

                                                                         



Putting aside winning a lottery, success in life, including financial success, generally requires concentrated and focussed effort for extended periods of time.  One of the reasons I often recommend music lessons for children is because proficiency on an instrument is not something that can be rushed.   It cannot be bought, it cannot be hurried.   There is no overnight delivery, there is no bypassing or gaming the system.   You just have to put in the time and effort.   Focus with no distractions.  For that, you will be rewarded by slow incremental improvement and eventually the satisfaction that comes from mastery of a difficult skill.

I was interested to read that according to a study at Northwestern University the diagnosis of ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, increased 66 percent between 2000 and 2010.   This condition greatly impacts all kinds  of learning.   Why has this occurred?   Are there simply more diagnoses as more parents have their children assessed?   Or are children  truly more distracted?  The study goes on to state that this condition can arise from an addiction to the dopamine-producing effects of endless stimulation and interruption that comes from text messages, e-mails and the non-stop action of video games.

I read elsewhere that the average person checks their cell phone up to 150 times a day.   I've often seen the cell phone placed beside an individual on their desk, at a restaurant, or at the very least in their easily accessible pocket.   Would you be offended if someone you were dining with paused while you were mid-sentence, expressing deeply held beliefs or feelings, to answer a cell phone beep?   If an adult can't restrain themselves in this situation, what hope is there for a child learning algebra?   Anything at all boring or routine or perhaps challenging and requiring concentrated attention will lead to a restlessness that is relieved by the beep of a new text or message.

What will happen to concentration and focus?






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