Living in the Age of Digital Distraction


Kazen Cowfer

Students often multitask between school and social media.

Cazen Cowfer, Staff Writer

It’s always been hard for kids to concentrate in school, but now it’s even worse in the age of technology. Even when a teen is desperately trying to do homework, they often cannot focus because of their phone buzzing, causing them to feel the need to check out new posts on Instagram and other social medias.

Some teens find it hard to disconnect from technology even for a little bit, so distracted with devices that when they work on homework for an hour, they have to reward themselves with screen time for an hour.

Now at school, most teens have iPads and computers.

B-A students, who all received iPads this year, are even allowed to use phones throughout the school day at specific times in designated areas.

But not everyone falls into the trap of distraction.

Freshmen Thalia Lucio, for example, will not let technology distract her.

“I’m a good student and I care more about my work than stupid phones!” she said.

Freshmen Karlie Feathers is not distracted, either.

“I really care about my studies, and I won’t let anything distract me from them,” said Karlie.

According to author Adam Gazzaley, the Director of Gazzaley Lab and a Professor of Neurology, Physiology and Psychiatry, it’s even hard for parents and teachers to pay attention, they need to set an example for teens to not be distracted and do their work too.

Gazzaley recently did an interview with NPR where he said the world is so involved with technology, families are falling apart. This could impact schools.

“There are definitely different models for how classrooms might take lessons and education leaders might take lessons from what we describe as the scientific basis off the distracted mind and experiment with how different classroom structures might be more effective in delivering information that young people need,” said Dr. Adam Gazzaley for a recent NPR article.

So, how can teens be less distracted in class, and more aware of their surroundings?

“I try to redirect them from their iPads,” said math teacher Mrs. Holly Carney. “Or I just tell them to get off their iPad”

Teens need to be able to train themselves to listen at one thing at a time rather than multi-tasking. For instance, when the teacher is teaching a lesson, the teen should only focus on the lesson instead of writing down notes.

But according the Gazzaley, your brain is always filtering everything, so it’s very hard to pay attention to one specific thing, which makes digital distractions an even bigger concern.

“Kids are surrounded by it all day. They can’t concentrate,” said Spanish teacher Mrs. Erin Smith.