Young folks in the age group of 15-24 are dubbed as Gen Y, who grew up with the internet, social networking, sms, and cell phones. They check Facebook at least 10 times a day. They are messaging, chatting with friends always. This “always-on” generation do not read newspapers nor do they watch TV. It’s all news on the web and Youtube videos if and when they feel like watching something. They play Zynga games like Farmville with their Facebook or MySpace buddies. They share photos and instant news. They watch their personal finance via Mint.com.
They are always in touch. In today’s Wall Street Journal, an incident is described where a high school kid was summoned to the principal’s office for continuously messaging his friends during classroom hours. As he was being reprimanded, his fingers were pressing buttons over his pant pocket messaging. The article describes the pros and con of such behavior. At work place, such close communication can be beneficial. Right now, I feel, it is a productivity drain. There are cases of sleep deprivation and poor school performance for those “socially hyperactive” kids. There is talk of “attention scope” as opposed to “attention span”. But current behavior says such hyperactivity is a result of the addictive nature of social networking.
Someone coined the phrase CPA – Continuous Partial Attention to describe the Gen Y kids. They are chatting through multiple windows while listening to iPod and playing games. The brain can only serialize every activity, hence multi-tasking is interesting but can be sub-optimal in terms of effectiveness.
Someone said “put your mind where your hand is”. In other words, focus on that one task you are doing, like driving or eating or reading. Gen Y should once in a while get back to the basic activities like reading a book, or wondering on nature’s splendor.