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Tag: Attention

Teenager checking their cell phone

Informed or overwhelmed? The brain on COVID-19 news

This week marked the first official week of learning at home in the wake of school closures designed to slow the spread of COVID-19. Our family started social distancing efforts last week so I had a little time to mentally prepare for the new reality of juggling working, parenting, and teaching. I knew better than…  Read More

Parent and child enjoying reducing screen time

Why Reducing Screen Time Isn’t Your Best Resolution

But Changing Digital Habits Might Be

The other day I found myself thinking, “What a time to be alive!” as I watched my oldest child make a series of online slideshows for some of his teachers. He couldn’t have been happier to be writing, creating hilarious art, and even adding poetry to his creations. Outside of school time! Just for fun!…  Read More

Young child scrolling through cell phone app that uses persuasive design to shape the user's behavior

Persuasive Design and Growing Brains: Why It Can Be So Hard to Unplug

“I am going to be screen free tonight!” I say to myself with conviction. I am already looking forward to a calm and focused evening. “Anything I need to see on my phone can wait until tomorrow,” I think with confidence. I place my phone on the counter and open the back door to greet…  Read More

A teenager trying to do homework amidst digital distractions from laptop and phone

Homework vs. YouTube: Tips for Reducing Distractions

As more and more homework goes online, students are tasked with a daunting task: How do I focus on the assignment and resist the allure of unrelated YouTube videos, social media posts, and other digital distractions? (I emphasize unrelated because some assignments ask students to draw on YouTube and other digital resources for learning). Your…  Read More

Toddlers and TV

Toddlers and TV: Zombies, Distracted, or Engaged?

“My kids constantly move from one activity to the next – except when it comes to toddlers and TV. Should I be worried when my 5 year old just sits and stares at the screen?” When TV was still a fairly new pastime for kids, researchers coined the term “zombie effect” to describe the glassy-eyed,…  Read More

Back of teenagers head looking at computer with phone near her

Decrease Digital Distractions and Increase Productivity

8 Parenting Tips to Help Your Child Focus

I just wrote a blog post about self-regulation, technology, and the importance of managing the environment to set our kids (and ourselves) up for success. Here are 8 ways to decrease digital distractions and increase productivity: Cut out background media and discourage multitasking (the exception to this might be calm music for some kids) when…  Read More

Image of a phone with lots of notifications illustrating digital distractions

Self Control in the Digital Age

We live in a world that begs our attention and engagement at every turn. Even as I settle in to write this blog post, Ping! A new email; Beep! someone posted on my Facebook timeline; Bzzz. my phone alerts me to a text even though I’ve put it on vibrate in a weak attempt to…  Read More

Teenager sleeping at desk on a pile of books at school

Sleep and Academic Performance

Tired Brains Suffer in School

Hello! Is there any research that shows a time of day for learning, retention of information, and developing skills that is better than others? Are there certain groups of people that do better at certain times of the day or does it depend more so on the individual? At this facility, our morning classes are…  Read More

Kid sitting on couch holding video game controller and looking at books.

“Digital Discipline” and Cutting Down on Digital Distractions

There has been a dramatic increase in parental and teacher concern about technology “overuse” as more and more children and teens have their own smart phones and more of their social life is spent on line either texting or on social networking sites. While it is clear that there is enormous benefit to growing up…  Read More

Teenage girl trying to study amidst lots of digital distractions

Digital Distractions and Building Your Child’s Focused Attention

A number of years ago a parent, Eleanor, contacted me after a talk to ask me a question about digital distractions. Eleanor had recently attended her son Jeremy’s school conferences and was surprised to learn that he was having a very difficult time focusing in class. “Dr. Walsh,” she exclaimed, “It doesn’t make any sense!…  Read More