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Multitasking Slows Kids’ Brain Activity

We multitask.  Our kids multitask.  In fact, many kids today have grown up in an era where multitasking is simply a way of life.  Researchers are now worrying that too much technology and multitasking can cause kids’ developing brains to get so used to switching from task to task, that they’ll never be able to concentrate on one task at a time.

Nintendo DS
(Photo by Kiyoshi Ota, Getty Images)

Today teachers are relying more on technology in the classroom, by using laptops, iPads and smart phones because these items are now a part of kids’ everyday life.  Teachers say old fashioned learning methods don’t work anymore and new devices are the only way to get kids to engage in the classroom.  However, a slew of new research is finding that all that screen time is messing with kids’ brainwave patterns and affecting their cognitive ability.

In a study published in the journal Pediatrics, scientists found that boys who played video games at night were significantly less able to remember vocabulary words the next day. The researchers believe that the brain can only take so much stimulation. So the intensity of the video game totally overrodes the more mild stimulation of studying vocab words.

Another study found that an amazing amount of brain activity happens during downtime. Basically, resting gives your brain a chance to fuse and solidify everything you’ve learned. Kids are constantly stimulating their brain, which never gives them time to actually process any information. That’s why leading neuroscience experst are now telling parents and teachers to bring back boredom.

According to MSNBC, Nintendo has issued a warning that its forthcoming 3-D video gaming system, the Nintendo 3-DS, should not be played by children under 6.  It’s the followup to the popular Nintendo DS hand-held system, and creates the illusion of 3-D gaming without the use of special glasses.

Nintendo is warning parents  that no one under 6 years old should play 3-D games on it.  Its 3-D features can be disabled through the use of built-in parental controls.  Nintendo expects to release the system in the U.S. in March.

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