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Booth is concerned with the effect that “multi-tasking”, the process by which we use various gadgets simultaneously to play games, watch television, chat to friends and google pictures of cute puppies, is having on our brains.Research shows that doing even just two or three tasks at once puts far more demand on our brains than doing them consecutively.I’m curled on the sofa, officially watching an old film on BBC2, but my right hand keeps twitching for my smartphone.
“I know what it’s like to grow up being bored, but our children don’t. Running fast from an early age is really quite damaging,” says Dr Guy Meadows, author of the forthcoming The Sleep Book: How To Sleep Well Every Night, who sees an increasing number of patients with insomnia brought on from an inability to put down their gadgets.
“What we need is better balance and we’re still working out what that should be.
I think antenatal classes with the National Childbirth Trust should help parents prepare for this, because the digital world will be part of their children’s childhoods in a way adults can’t anticipate in terms of their own experience.” Booth suggests that families discuss and decide on a digital “strategy” together.
Children also now spend more time on screens than exercising every day, a key factor in rising obesity levels.
Alarmed by this information, US author Susan Maushart decided that she and her three teenagers would quit technology for six months.