Today’s students aren’t just spending a couple of hours with their technology. According to the study, they’re spending more and more time online and on the phone each year, and statistics seem to be showing that their grades are suffering from that increased activity.
When I was boy, I sometimes tried to do my homework while watching TV and working on a jigsaw puzzle. I still had enough concentration left over to argue with a brother over who was going to put together the corner pieces and ask my mother when dinner was going to be ready.
We multitasked at a time when it still was known as trying to do too many things at once.
I bring this up not to brag about my ability to do more than one job at the same time, because I have no idea if I did it well. I just know that Mickey Mouse Club kept coming on every night, the puzzles all got put together sooner or later and eventually I got out of grade school. I don’t remember much about my report cards. Whether I got an “A” or a “B” in grade school geography hasn’t come up much in conversation in the last 40 or 50 years.
But the grades of elementary school pupils and high school students are very much on the minds of people who apparently did a study I heard about while eating breakfast, reading the newspaper and watching the news on television the other morning. Some things never change.
On TV, they were going on about how young people these days are using so much technology that it’s apparently distracting them from doing their homework. At least it seems so, because their grades are declining.
According to the study, kids these days are texting, twittering and talking on their cell phones all day. Supposedly, these students are watching television and playing video games all night. Young people are listening to their iPods and MP3 players while they’re doing their homework, which I guess is more difficult and dangerous than when I was young and trying to do algebra problems while listening to The Beatles, Beach Boys, Herman’s Hermits or Gary Lewis and the Playboys by playing records.
And this doesn’t even count the hours they spend on the Internet, which I’m figuring is far more distracting to a student than taking a transistor radio up to a bedroom and listening to a ballgame for about two hours.
But today’s students aren’t just spending a couple of hours with their technology. According to the study, they’re spending more and more time online and on the phone each year, and statistics seem to be showing that their grades are suffering from that increased activity.
Now, I have no idea if this has gotten to the point where it’s a problem. Kids waste time. It’s their job.
But, I do know that my parents seemed to have a pretty good grasp on when I was wasting too much time, and this was back in the days before they had studies to help them determine it.
“Have you still got homework to do?” I can hear my dad asking from my bedroom doorway, speaking loudly over the radio broadcast of a ballgame. Usually, I did.
My dad never cited any statistics at that point, but I sort of remember that he came up with a solution.
He pointed at the radio.
“Turn it off.”
Gary Brown writes for The Repository in Canton, Ohio. Contact him at email@example.com. This column is the opinion of the writer and not of the newspaper.