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Diverting Attention Away From Digital Distractions

digital natives are individuals who were born in the age of the internet/ Photo By wxin via 123RF

 

The abundance and accessibility of technology are shown to be harmful to personal relationships. The Digital Age has lead people to become more sidetracked, aloof and exhausted, one study shows. Another survey conducted revealed that 54% of digital natives affirmed the statement “I prefer texting people rather than talking to them."

It was also discovered that parents can also become technology dependent, as shown in a research carried out by Common Sense Media. Twenty-eight percent of teens reported that their parents were hooked on their mobile devices, while 21% expressed that they wanted their parents to reduce the time they spent on their phones and other mobile devices.

Digital Natives Definition

According to the site Digital Responsibility, digital natives are individuals who “were born in the age of the internet. The American Psychological Association says that these are University students.

 

narcissistic people were more prone to social media usage/ Photo By Vadim Georgiev via 123RF

 

Phone Usage and Distraction

Ryan Dwyer and his co-authors from the University of British Columbia carried out both a field experiment in a restaurant and a survey. The restaurant phase of their experiment involved more than 300 adults and university students from Vancouver, while the survey part of their experiment included 120 students from the University of Virginia.

During the restaurant part of their experiment, they made the students decide whether they would place their phone on the table with its ringer or vibrator on, or if they wanted them kept in a container while they ate dinner. When they were done eating, they asked to answer a questionnaire which included how often they used their phone during their meal and if they enjoyed the experience, were bored during the meal, or were distracted.

Dwyer and his team found that those who had their phone within their reach were more likely to use them than those who kept their phones in containers. Those who had scrolled through their phone during the dinner session said they felt more distracted and did not enjoy the dinner very much.

In the survey phase of their study, every day they would survey them five times daily for one week. They also requested the participants to inform them on how they were feeling and what activities they engaged in 15 minutes before they finished the survey.

The outcome of their study was that when participants used their phones while they interacted face to face with others, they were more likely to get distracted than those who did not check their phones.

Narcissism, Compassion, and Social Media Use

Another research indicates that compassionate people tend to spend less time online than narcissistic individuals. It also showed that those who struggled with recognizing, explaining in detail and understanding their emotions, or those known to have lower emotional intelligence, visited their social media accounts more often than those who were adept with comprehending emotions. It also suggests that those who were felt uneasy with their own emotions and other people’s emotions may find more comfort communicating online.

The research lead by Sara Konrath from the University of Indiana shows that some individuals may be more comfortable in online communication because it gives them a longer time to process social and emotional information.

 

compassionate people tend to spend less time online than narcissistic individuals/ Photo By Nataly Ponomarenko via 123RF

 

She based her study on other researches that showed that narcissistic people were more prone to social media usage than those less narcissistic. However, this study also explores the connection between social media use and emotional intelligence.

Konrath and her research team examined four experiments which had 1,200 participants and measured them according to established scales of empathy, narcissism, emotional intelligence and emotion recognition. The participants were also asked how regularly they opened their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts and posted on them.

The results of their study showed that those who had a higher score on the emotional recognition assessments were the ones who did not use Twitter and Facebook frequently. In contrast, individuals who checked those three social media sites more often were either the ones who were more narcissistic or people who felt easily overpowered by other people’s emotions.

She is uncertain about whether being empathic or being emotionally intelligent makes people refrain from using social media or if social media caused people to decrease their empathy and emotional intelligence. She conceded that they have to investigate further whether online digital technology is beneficial or dangerous to people.

Having Less Screen Time Makes One Better at Understanding Verbal Cues

There is also a research that shows that preteens improved on how they interpreted their friends’ nonverbal cues after five days of distancing themselves from their mobile device. College participants who were also part of the study were shown to have more quality time spent with friends in-person rather than when they talked through audio chat, instant messaging, and video chat.

How to Manage Digital Distractions

The Financial Times states that there are two main ways to help deal with digital distractions. A person who wishes to limit their time spent online may try to use apps and internet blockers that cut offs individuals from specific websites or during specific periods. An example of this is the Thrive App found on Samsung.

The second way to wean oneself from their mobile devices is to use a notebook to outline one’s schedule. Cal Newport, an associate professor of computer science, states that it is an effective tool to use because of its confined three-dimensional frames the way one thinks.

He argues, “... The fact that the page is a fixed size embodies the reality that your time and attention are limited commodities. Days scheduled on paper tend to be more realistic and balanced than those driven [by] a bottomless inbox or voluminous digital task list.”

To reinforce the usage of a notebook for writing down daily tasks, it has been proven that writing on paper boosts the language processing region of the brain and increases a person’s concentration in reading.

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