We all love our children. But is their smart phone distracting them from exam success? Science has made new discoveries and the answers could free them from Digital Addiction!
As a parent you know your teenagers preoccupation with their smart phone is spelling trouble when it comes to studying for exams. It’s a no brainer – you can’t study effectively while posting on Facebook and Instagram, Snapchat and whatsapp – sometimes all at the same time!
Now science agrees. Studies show that just a single visit to Facebook during a study session can severely disrupt your teenager’s focus. And the more they engage online the more the disruption. Multi-tasking is really multi-distracting.
Science has also come up with a solution that can revolutionize your teenagers study habits, sending their chances of exam success skyrocketing.
It’s called Deep Study will all but ensure that your child reaches their full potential and lands their No1 choice at college, setting them on course to their chosen career. But every parent has the same thought:
If I can get my son or daughter to just stop looking at their mobile phone and engage in deep study they will get the points they need to go to college, they will listen to me again and I will regain control over the situation and get them to focus on their studies again.
Today’s post explores the central concepts from Cal Newport’s new book Deep Work. As Cal Newport himself says:
“Deep Work: Professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate”.
Cal Newport should know. He is an eminent Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University, and author of four New York Times bestsellers.
Newport argues that deep work, applied correctly, can be the difference between a mediocre career and an outstanding one. And this is just what every parent wants to hear – science backing their claim that multitasking is distraction on a large scale and destructive to performance and not just some fuddy-duddy resistance to something new.
“People who multitask all the time can’t filter out irrelevancy.’ Says Cal. ‘they can’t manage a working memory. They’re chronically distracted. They initiate much larger parts of their brain that are irrelevant to the task at hand… they’re pretty much mental wrecks”
I think all parents instinctively know how important it is to work without distractions, but Newport’s work was the first place research has been gathered that proves constant distraction outside of work could harm one’s ability to focus.
As Newport explains, though, it’s no different from athletic performance:
“Much in the same way that athletes must take care of their bodies outside of their training sessions, you’ll struggle to achieve the deepest levels of concentration if you spend the rest of your time fleeing the slightest hint of boredom.”
Distraction is an addiction
Another thing Cal Newport emphasizes – over use of your teenagers’ smart phone is like digital nicotine. Like many other addictions, usually has some cause that runs deeper than just the chemical craving.
Once your child has begun to shun constant distraction and train themselves to focus deeply, they will excel at exams and achieve what they want. And that’s all any parent can want. But first they must be prepared to:
In a research study students were asked to concentrate on reading for just 15 minutes without checking their social media contacts on their phone.
How long did most last?
How long would your kid last?
Go on guess . . . !
The students, more worryingly, all said that they could multitask and check messages without it affecting their study concentration!
But not according to Cal’s research, which shows that even on glance at Facebook during a study period can ruin the session. Apparently your brain’s hard drive is preoccupied with what you are missing out on – what people are saying about you. It’s called FOMO syndrome (fear of missing out) and is the ultimate narcissistic trap.
As a parent and teacher myself I see this plague everywhere around me but it wasn’t always there. 20 years ago when I wrote Maximum Points – Minimum Panic there were no mobile phones. No Facebook or Snapchat. This is why I have updated the bestselling book to make an online video version based on all the latest research on studying and learning. I did so reluctantly because I could not stand by and see students wasting their potential with their parents frustrated beyond belief as a result.