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'Distracted' as Hell

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Book review: We are a nation of short attention spanners, according to Maggie Jackson, the author of Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age.


Guest blogger Marilyn writes: It seems it's so common that there are special study groups like the new field of "Interruption Science" and the nonprofit organization, "Information Overload Research Group." There are more, but I got distracted and didn't finish reading the article.

Does this mean that the multi-tasking mom who has relied on her ability to answer the phone, prepare a meal, wipe the dirt off her 4-year-old's mouth, and hand apple slices to him in one deftly choreographed move is somehow in jeopardy? Not exactly.

Early humans needed to keep their attention in many directions in order to survive. However, researchers have found that if the television is constantly on in the background, parents interact with their children 20% less than they otherwise would and are more likely to give passive responses to whatever their children are doing or saying.

"Moms need to guide their kids in rediscovering the power of focus. Attention is the key in recapturing deep relationships and thoughts, " said Maggie over the phone as she was getting in the car.

Have you ever found yourself standing in front of the tube mesmerized by the news tease? It's a waste of time to let TV writers take your attention from your goal. There's a happy medium. Let's try it in small amounts.

Why don't we turn off the television, phones and computers for one whole afternoon? Just one. Let's listen to nature instead of Dr. Phil, and talk to the kids instead of e-mailing that joke to our friends. Who knows, maybe we'll find time to read Distracted.

Marilyn Kentz is the brunette half of the '90s comedy duo "The Mommies" and author of A Ten Step Guide to Fearless Aging.

next: Billy Ray on Today
1 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous June 18, 2008, 4:27 AM

I have this story open in a tab to read. I opened the tab many hours ago. Still haven’t read it :P I keep getting distracted!

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