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4 Supervillains of Learning: Digital Distraction

4 Supervillains of Learning: Digital Distraction

If some of us were given a dollar for the number of times we press our phones while having a conversation with someone, we’d probably be millionaires by now. “Modern technology may be wonderful, but it can easily sidetrack us and take away from the special moments we have with friends and family in person,” Dwyer says after conducting a study to show how easily distracted we get by our digital devices. Let’s toss the coin. How do you feel when you are having a conversation with someone in person and the person keeps reaching over to press his/her phone? It can get annoying, right? Definitely a red flag for me on a first date. But when you think deeply about it, we have all done this at one point or the other in our lives. This is what Jim Kwik refers to as Digital Distraction.

We are always connected to the internet because we can’t imagine being off it for just a second. It makes us feel secure. There’s even a popular saying now that Data is Life. If we are not connected to the internet, we feel like we are left out of the world. If our phones ever get stolen or misplaced for any reason, it could lead to depression for some people. Don’t you see that it is a disease? A disease that has eaten so deep it is almost impossible to recover from. We now literally live on the internet and find it so hard to focus. As workers, we find ourselves multitasking in the workplace which reduces our productivity. As students, we spend half of our reading time on social media before we realise it is almost time to write that exam. It sounds funny but this is the situation we find ourselves in today.

Digital distraction has taken a toll on us and the result is reduced productivity and engagement both in the office and at home. It is also harmful to a student’s reading habit, breaking your concentration and rendering your study or reading habits ineffective. Jim Kwik estimated that it can take you up to 20 mins to reconnect with what you are doing after you have been distracted from doing it. So imagine you got distracted (maybe by your phone or the internet) 3 times while reading, for everytime you return to continue reading after that distraction, it takes you about 20 mins to reconnect —multiply that by 3 and you’d find out that you have wasted about 1 hour juggling back and forth as a result of distraction. This is an effect of digital distraction we don’t pay enough attention to.

Some school of thought argue that multitasking is not bad and can be effective but researchers still go further to explain that this can only work if one of the activity is automated, such as walking and chewing gum. Personally, I think multitasking should be avoided as much as possible especially when studying. You will be doing yourself much more good than harm.

How to Handle Digital Distraction

Do you know what?

There’s a way to handle digital distraction.

Be aware!

Be aware that there is a problem.

Be aware that pressing your phone while having a conversation with someone will make you miss out on important details.

Be aware that shifting attention between your phone and reading will only reduce your productivity, not enhance it.

Be aware that you are in control of your devices not the other way around.

Becoming aware of this disease that has plagued us is the first step to overcoming the supervillain, Digital Distraction.

What are you thoughts on digital distraction? Have you been distracted before and how did you handle it?

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