You are on page 1of 9

Brittany DAlessandro 1

Brittany DAlessandro
Devin Patten
English 1010
Issue exploration: Rough Draft Two
In todays world, we have a lot of ways to multitask. The biggest, most grossing way to
multitask is through media. Media multitasking can be done with any type of technology whether
it is cell phone, television, computer, and so on. The problem that we face today is not knowing
how affective media multitasking really is, and if we should continue to call it a good thing to
be considered well at. According to John M. Grohol, (who wrote the article How well do you
multitask Between the TV and the Computer), states, the average amount of attention
switching done in their study was 120 times in one 27.5 minute period. This study alone shows
us just how often we are switching in media multitasking.
When we are multitasking, are we really getting the jobs done at one hundred percent? Is
it bad for us to make our brains focus so much on multiple things at one time? Or is it a good
thing that we are exercising our brains to do these things? Will the future hold more media
multitasking, or will it be stripped away? We are constantly on the go. We are driving while
talking on the phone, listening to music while writing papers, watching television while
talking to your best friend, all these tasks have became almost like a second nature to us. If
you think about where it all began, you can see how quickly multitasking has changed for
Thinking back to when the first phone came out, all we could do on it was simply
talk to someone else on the phone. We could not access email on it, text other people, view
Brittany DAlessandro 2

social media, or even play games. We only used our phones to talk to other people. When I
think about my old phone, I think about how I would always loose it or leave it behind
because it wasnt that important to me and I wasnt always wondering who was trying to
contact me and how they were going to talk to me (texting, calling, or face booking). Now a-
days, I cant even leave the room with out my phone. Many people say they cant even
function right and say that they feel lost or lonely without their phone.
When you think about television and how far it has came, it all used to be in black
and white and we only had access to a couple of channels. There were better things to do
than watch TV all day long; it didnt seem like the cool thing to do. Now when we come
home, we have three different shows recorded for us to watch. We have thousands of other
channels to view when nothing else is on. When we come home from work, we like to sit
down and relax watching television, but is it actually relaxing us?
Looking back on the computer it used to take at least five minutes for our computer
to load and open up a site on the Internet. We could play only three to four games on the
computer and type a paper in Microsoft. The computers were huge and needed to be
plugged in at all times. There was no such thing as a laptop or a portable computer. You
either had a huge computer at a table plugged into the wall or nothing at all. Now we can do
almost everything on our computers whether it is playing millions of different games,
listening to music, making power points, and so much more. These devices can go
anywhere and everywhere with us now because they come in all shapes and sizes and have
Wi-Fi that connects almost everywhere. Now computers can be considered being a small
tablet, laptop, or even phone.
Brittany DAlessandro 3

Now we have all these advanced technologies that can do a million things at once,
how are we supposed to contain ourselves from wanting to do it all at once? We dont. We
want to do everything at once, we find it easy and productive and some even enjoy doing
three things at once. While we think that we are getting more done and being more
productive, are we actually doing everything half fast? When writing a paper, listening to
music, and watching TV, are you putting most of your attention on one thing? That one
thing could be that your really into a song thats playing and now is your paper is hurting
because of it? So even though you think you are multitasking, are you really?
While looking online, I found that most people were actually against Media multitasking,
but with that, came some really great points as to why media multitasking is not so bad after all.
Before I began this essay, I thought that media multitasking was for sure a bad thing. I then
began to think about how often we use media multitasking in our everyday life and saw how
much I actually got done. Seeing the positive side to this matter actually helped me see that
media multitasking is not so bad after all. Before you read this, try to have an open mind about
this concept and let your self start a new opinion by the end of this essay. Lets begin with the
negative aspect of this concept and then ease our way into the positive.
I started my research for this side of media multitasking just inside one of my classrooms
at school. My professor is strongly against the whole idea of media multitasking and actually
inspired me to write my essay about this topic. She talked about how our brains worked and that
we are actually not built to do all these things at once, and in a result to doing this, we may
actually be hurting ourselves.
We see people every day texting on their phones while driving, or watching television
while doing an assignment but if you think about it, one of the tasks ends up suffering in the long
Brittany DAlessandro 4

run. While you are diving and texting, you either have your eyes and mind on the road and you
look down at your phone and cant understand one thing that you wrote, or you are focusing on
writing your text and look up at the road and are in another lane. Same thing goes for any other
usage of media multitasking.
Is there really anyone who is good at media multitasking? Many say that the answer is
no. This is because our brains are not made to focus on three things at once. This epidemic has
some people afraid of what the future may bring. The more technology advances, the more we
see people using and abusing media multitasking. It can be very dangerous and extremely
harmful to your brain. Your brain already has enough to focus on, and now you are trying to get
it focus on a couple more things.
In an article I read online, titled How Todays Computers Weaken our Brains, by WU
Tim, the author suggests the same theory that media multitasking is too much for our brains to
take in. While the brain is good at many things, it is rather bad at others. Its not very good at
achieving extreme states of concentration through sustained attention. It takes great training and
effort to maintain attention on one objectin what Buddhists call concentration meditation
because the brain is highly susceptible to both voluntary and involuntary demands on its
attention. Second, the brain is not good at conscious multitasking, or trying to pay active
attention to more than one thing at once. Perhaps computer designers once hoped that our
machines could train the brain to multitask more effectively, but recent research suggests that
this effort has failed.
I also talked to one of my good friends, Matthew Long, to get his opinion on this topic.
He said, Media multitasking is nothing but a distraction. Where do we put a stop to this and go
back to the way things were? He feels extremely strong about this topic because early last year,
Brittany DAlessandro 5

a girl who was texting while driving hit him. Matthew ended up totaling his car and now has
multiple back issues. The more things we come out with, the more people are going to want to
multitask with things, and start to pay less attention to the things that need the most attention.
Are we slowly watching our future slip through our hands? Most people think that the
more we are media multitasking, the more car accidents will happen, more things will be done
half fast, and the less we will be able to concentrate. Media multitasking is not made for us, so
why do we continue to do it and support it in our future? Like Matthew said, media multitasking
is not multitasking, its more of doing three things at once, all done half fast and nothing done to
its full potential. Are we really going to let that slide by? Are we going to just sit and watch our
world fall apart because nothing is done to its fullest? Will expectations be too high or will they
be too low? Will we all fall behind?
After reading the negative side to this topic, we come to find ourselves looking at the
positive. So lets face it, today is moving fast and it can be hard to catch up. We are struggling
with the new things coming into our lives and its very easy to fall behind. We all use media
multitasking whether you would like to admit it or not, and yes, sometimes it doesnt work out
but also, sometimes it does. If you think about how far we have came just as humans, you can
see we have changed in many aspects. We can walk upright, have the capability to talk in many
different languages, and so much more. The more that we are using media multitasking; the more
we are training our brains to accept that we can do it. So can it be that bad?
After talking to a close friend who actually works in a place where media multitasking is
a must, I started to see his point. He pretty much said that media multitasking is not impossible
and is not dangerous. We all know that we are doing it daily, but is everyone getting hurt? No. It
is important to know when and where to do it. It is not a good time to media multitask while
Brittany DAlessandro 6

driving because for now, driving is too big of a task to handle. You also have to remember that
not everyones brains developed as fast as yours, so the more you get your brain used to using
multiple media devices at once, the quicker YOU will grasp the concept. Interesting to think
While reading The Daily Mail online, I saw an article named Modern Multi-tasking In
the world of Technology Is Actually Good for your Brains because it Trains your Brain to use
More Senses (yes, this is the actual name of this article). In this article, the author states (whose
name is unknown) The participants who multi-tasked the most in their everyday lives were
more successful at spotting the target than others when the tone was played. The researchers said
that their ability to routinely take in information from different sources meant they had no
trouble dealing with the unexpected sound. Dr. Kelvin Lui and Dr. Alan Wong, the studys
authors, said the findings highlighted an interesting possibility of the effect of media multi-
tasking on certain cognitive abilities, multi-sensory integration in particular. This article really
shows you that this change may not be so bad after all. We might not be hurting ourselves as
bad as we thought. This could actually be good for us, a new way for us to think and see.
Another source stated a very similar response after they too made a study about media
multitasking. I found this article on Science Daily, named Multitasking: Not so bad for you
after all? The article states Although the present findings do not demonstrate any causal effect,
they highlight an interesting possibility of the effect of media multitasking on certain cognitive
abilities, multisensory integration in particular. Media multitasking may not always be a bad
Like Julie Dobrow says in her article So Many Screens, So Little Time, on The
Huffington Post, accept the reality that a multi-screen, multi-task world probably means
Brittany DAlessandro 7

changes in education, the workplace and perhaps even in childhood and parenting. We are so
attached to using computers and television for even our own education, that if we take all this
away, it might affect the way that our children learn or understand things. It may cause us more
problems than we think it will solve.
Media multitasking may not be perfected yet, but one day it might be. It might be as easy
as walking; it might become more of a second nature to us. The world is not going to stop
evolving, so why should we? Lets face it; we will never be able to get away from media
multitasking, so why run from it when we can try to improve it. Its not bad to train your brain to
either do something different, or train it to think in a new way.
So, what do you think? Is this a good thing that we are doing to ourselves? Is it good that
we are evolving and bettering ourselves? Or do we try to go back to the way things were?
Things were simpler then and it makes more sense for us to stay the same and not try to change
who we are and how we work. At the end of the day, the question remains the same, is media
multitasking bad for you?

Brittany DAlessandro 8

Bibliography (Works Cited)
1) Lui, Kelvin F. H., and Alan C.-N. Wong. "Does Media Multitasking Always Hurt? A Positive
Correlation between Multitasking and Multisensory Integration - Springer." Does Media
Multitasking Always Hurt? A Positive Correlation between Multitasking and Multisensory
Integration - Springer. Psychonomic Society, 12 Apr. 2012. Web. 01 Apr. 2014.
2) Reporter, Daily Mail. "Modern Multi-tasking in the World of Technology Is Actually Good
for Your Brain Because It Trains You to Use More Senses." Mail Online. Associated
Newspapers, 13 Apr. 2012. Web. 04 Apr. 2014.
3) WU, Tim. "How Today's Computers Weaken Our Brain." The New Yorker. The New Yorker,
9 Sept. 2013. Web. 03 Apr. 2014.
4) Springer Science+Business Media. "Multitasking: Not so bad for you after all?."
ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 April 2012.
5) Grohol, John M. "How Well Do You Multitask Between the TV and the Computer? | World
of Psychology." Psych Psych, 23 Mar. 2011. Web. 04 Apr. 2014.
6) Dobrow, Julie. "So Many Screens, So Little Time." The Huffington Post., 18 Mar. 2013. Web. 04 Apr. 2014.

Brittany DAlessandro 9