There's no question that for both kids and adults, our attention is divided. Texts, emails, Twitter, Facebook are all chiming, ringing, beeping, and chirping for our attention.
How does this affect kids? The media has covered the subject in terms of fear of multitasking leading to ADD, losing control to digital devices, and the dangers of not being able to focus. And in most cases, the Internet (and technology in general) has been declared the culprit.
But rather than blaming the medium, David Levy, author of Scrolling Forward: Making Sense of Documents in the Digital Age, and a professor at the Information School at the University of Washington, believes the challenges of multitasking present us with an opportunity to take control of the situation, starting at a young age.
"We're led to believe that we're victims and we don't have a choice in the matter and it's the Internet's fault," Levy said at the Innovative Learning Conference last week. "But the problem is bigger than technology."
Levy cited a 2009 Stanford study, Impacts of Media Multitasking on Children's Learning and Development [PDF], which concluded that schools have yet to meet the challenge of dealing with stretched attention that media multitasking requires. USC Professor Henry Jenkins, author of multiple books on media and pop culture, has also emphasized the importance of teaching multitasking as a skill.