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Switching between emails, SMSes bad for health

Bapun Raz

Staff member
3 Nov 2010
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LONDON: Being technology-savvy may be a necessity in today's world, but a new study says multi-tasking our way through life, as we switch between SMSes, emails and tweets daily, could take a toll on our mental health.

Researchers at California University have claimed that latest gadgets could be damaging people's minds by bombarding them with too much information from multiple sources, and also weakening ability to screen out irrelevant data and prioritise what is important, the 'San Fransico Chronicle' reported.

The study has found that multi-tasking can also hamper short-term memory performance, especially among older adults.

Moreover, there are concerns of possible technology addiction -- with frequent users unable to stop checking their messages or sending out updates at every opportunity, say the researchers.

In their study, they found that multi-taskers performed worse in tests where they had to jump from one task to another -- suggesting that they were easily distracted by irrelevant information.

The researchers quoted other researches that show people are spending more time connected to a keyboard. Youngsters now spend an average of seven hours and 38 minutes on entertainment media per day, but because they are often using more than one medium at any one time, they absorb about 10 hours and 45 minutes of content in 24 hours.

The lethal combination has forced some scientists to call for a "technology diet" to prevent information overload. Dr Elias Aboujaoude, Director of Stanford's Impulse Control Disorders Clinic , was quoted by the 'Daily Mail' as saying, "The best way to define it is in terms of the offline consequences. Are we suffering in terms of our cognition and attention spans because of all the time we spend online?

"Is our professional life negatively impacted because of all the nonessential Internet surfing we do at work? More and more, society is looking like a chat room." [/align]

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