“Look at me when I talk to you.”

From The Washington Post By Steve Chawkins, Published: November 9

Clifford Nass, a Stanford professor who was among the first academics to sound alarms about the dangers of chronic multitasking and the decline in the kind of face-to-face interactions that he so unabashedly enjoyed with students and colleagues, died Nov. 2 at a camp near South Lake Tahoe, Calif. He was 55.

One of his memes to students was to tell them to “Make face time sacred”. Isn’t that something? Here was an academic who studied the effects of multitasking. Since his death, I’ve been reading and hearing numerous reports about how constant interaction with one’s phone can accentuate your level of ADD. And there are a few articles now reporting the possibility of cellphone usage as causing ADHD in children.  Anyone remember being told, “Look at me when I talk to you,” by your parents?  What’s the message a parent now gives a child when a cellphone is handed to her when she cries or he acts bored and agitated?  What may cure the fidgets or cries in the moment can certainly cause a deeper problem later on like when they are a teen and they can’t be without their phone for a minute, nor put it down when in the presence of others.

An article was published today titled, “Too Much TV Can Stall Aspects of Cognitive Development“. I’m 51 years young and I grew up on TV, but never watched more than a couple of hours a night.  Why?  We weren’t allowed to. When we got home from school, it was play outside time since Mom had just come home from work and wanted some space. Turns out THAT was good for us. So, after dinner, we had a little TV time before going off to our bedrooms to read, do homework, etc.  Quiet time for Mom again, and good for our minds.  I consider myself a fairly intelligent human being and I thank my Mom in my heart every day for keeping me cognitively healthy.  But kids today are often sitting in front of a video game on their TV or computers for hours and hours. I know some teens who spend more than 1/2 a day blowing stuff up, chasing or being chased on the screen.  So much action goes on in a single moment that when these teens grow up and become my college students, I find that they have a very difficult time sitting still and simply absorbing a lecture. One student several years ago told me that he had to be doing 3 things at once in order to focus on the class otherwise he would fall asleep.  And that’s not because my lectures are boring…they are anything but that. I know and have been told that I’m a very active lecturer who is clearly passionate about the subject and brings that focus and energy to every classroom encounter. But it truly is getting harder and harder to get through to the younger ones.  I have a lot of 28 – 45 year-olds in my classes and they have a much easier time with it since focusing on someone speaking is not difficult for them at all.

What happens inside a mind mind that can’t connect to another human sitting across from it? Isolation? Loneliness? Imagine feeling lonely in the company of others, but feeling much better around one’s mini spaceship in hand traveling the globe in myriad ways.

“The [aforementioned] study shows that TV exposure may impair children’s theory of mind development, and this impairment may be partly responsible for disruptive social behaviors, according to the researchers.”  And later: “Children with more developed theories of mind are better able to participate in social relationships. These children can engage in more sensitive, cooperative interactions with other children and are less likely to resort to aggression as a means of achieving goals.”

So, put down that phone and focus, OK?  It’s better for you, your family, and your friends.  Image

About danaj33

I have been teaching in the Broadcast Electronic Media Art department at City College of San Francisco since 2001. I started teaching full-time in 2009 and am tenured. My career as an audio engineer spans 32-years since the first day I began to record and mix songs on my Tascam PortaStudio (cassette 4-track) in the early 80's while attending college at UC Berkeley. I formed a couple of bands and sang lead (sometimes playing rhythm guitar) until 1988 when I discovered that the "behind-the-scenes" tech realm was much more to my liking. I love how an audio engineer controls the ENTIRE sound mix, and not just one's own instrument. I then began a career as a live sound engineer in earnest and have toured extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe as front-of-house sound engineer for a multitude of bands on various record labels (most notably "Medicine" on American Recordings) and have been a staff engineer at the venerable Bottom of the Hill nightclub since their inception in 1991 leaving a regular shift there in 2010 due to the teaching schedule. The club and its staff are like family. I owned and operated a live sound production company since 1989 (ending officially in 2017) called dcj Productions that has provided sound to the Bay Area community (mostly in the non-profit sector) in both large outdoor sound events as well as nightclubs and music halls. In 1991, I started recording bands on an 8-track Tascam TSR-8 analog tape recorder and moved into the digital realm in 1993 to 16-tracks of Alesis ADAT connected to a Soundcraft Ghost console in my home studio. In 1995, I advanced to Pro Tools and have been recording exclusively digital ever since, combining audio skills in sound for film as a location recordist as well as an engineer in post-production sound design and mixing. I remained "strictly analog" in my live sound mixing until just this past year (2012). Now that one can obtain a decent, live sound digital mixer at an affordable price, it was high time to check out digital for live. I now have a Presonus StudioLive 16.4.2 to work on with my students to give them much needed hands-on experience with a digital console. I co-owned and ran APG Records & APG Studios, an SF record label and recording studio, from 1999 - 2004 which had a distribution deal through EMI. The company folded in 2004. I continue to record music and engineer live performances at many Bay Area venues in addition to full-time teaching at CCSF. In 2001, I was hired to the part-time faculty at City College of San Francisco in the Broadcast Electronics Media Arts department where I have taught many of the classes including Digital Media Skills (BCST119), Basic Audio Production (BCST120), Digital Audio Production (BCST124), Sound Recording Studio (BCST125), Sound For Visual Media (BCST126), Advanced Sound Recording (BCST127), Sound Reinforcement (BCST128), Audio for the Web (BCST135), Video for the Web (BCST136), and Field Video Production (BCST141). I have also taught classes in sound design, audio for animation and games, music video, and computer applications at Art Institute of California-San Francisco, Globe Recording Institute, and Laney College in Oakland, CA. Outside Affiliations: - Co-Director of SoundGirls - current member of Audio Engineering Society and on the SF Chapter Planning Committee - past Vice President and Interim President Board of Directors - Bay Area Girls Rock Camp - past volunteer/contributor to Women's Audio Mission - past member Bay Area Women in Media and Film - past Board of Directors for Camp Reel Stories
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