Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Click Click Click

This post is a bit off-topic, as it's not so much about my time in Dubai. However, I find it very appropriate, given that Chancellor Cantor's speech at the 2012 Commencement was about the "click click click" and the interference of technology in everyday interaction.

While doing research for Cartoon Network Arabic, one of our clients, I was looking into the effects of laughter on the development of children. I came across a companion editorial to a study which showed that fast-paced cartoons hurt the executive function of the children who have grown up in a "digital-native society," and it included the following statement:

"Deficits in executive function, whether transient or permanent, have social implications as well. I recently encountered 2 college students who were sitting outside a cafĂ© in an urban mall. As they soaked in the rare Seattle sunshine, I noticed that one of them was talking on her cell phone and the other was texting. I could not help but feel that the technology that we all carry in our pockets is tearing at the social fabric of society. What 10 (or maybe 5) years ago would have been an interpersonal interaction in which each young adult had the other's undivided attention was suddenly an ongoing conversation with dozens or possibly hundreds of other “friends.” Indeed “undivided attention” is difficult to come by today, but it is central to being authentically present. Focusing on what one's friends have to say is central to friendship, and multitasking friendship by allowing other people or things to intercalate themselves into encounters would seem to undercut it."

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