With this blog, I like to explore all aspects of learning and cognition. Reading, after all, is a bridge a whole new world of ideas. That’s why I found this study from the University of Texas at Austin interesting. Researchers found that student increased in schools where cellphones are banned.
A Bad Mix
Personally, I believe that kids should not get a cellphone until they are juniors in high school—or later. It’s probably best that I didn’t have kids. Too much neural development is going on. Using a cellphone can negatively impact their sight development as well as keeping them from being active.
What was compelling about this study is the comparison that researchers made. They equated the performance benefits of cellphone bans to extending the school year by five days. Think about that a moment. Consider how much learning gets done in a school week. Whatever the scores on tests, the effect of added learning time is huge.
For the Writer
There are some good lessons for you as a writer too. Let’s think about what cellphones (aka smartphones) bring to the table. We have distractions in the form of texts, emails, and calls. There’s also the stress that may accompany those contacts.
Then, you have the allure of social media whoever you follow, friend, or chat with. If you like games, your cellphone beckons you with another round of Temple Run. And maybe there’s a little stress or frustration there too if you’re stuck at one level.
Sure, cellphones make things easier for looking up stuff. But it comes at a cost. And that’s what I think is the takeaway from the University of Texas study. Distractions not only affect our driving, but also our learning.
A Compromise, If You Will
I don’t keep my cellphone in another room while I work. I also don’t use it until my lunch break. I have an app to silence all notifications while I’m working. I also have it set not to ring for calls not in my contact list.
It’s too easy to get swayed by the distractions of a cellphone. For writers, those distractions cost. And yes, it’ll be hard to break the addiction at first. In the long run, your cellphone is a tool, not a master.