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New Canaan Daily Voice serves New Canaan, CT
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New Canaan Daily Voice serves New Canaan, CT

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New Canaan Mom: Can Student Study While Dialed Into Social Network?

Social media distracts many students as they try to focus on their homework.
Social media distracts many students as they try to focus on their homework. Photo Credit: Flickr user Jillian Gray

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- Do you have a question about your middle or high school student’s studying practices? S4 Study Skills, an area leader in providing evidence-based study skills and test preparation workshops for students, will answer questions from The Daily Voice readers. If you have a question, please submit it here or email

My daughter says that she’s a great multi-tasker, able to juggle her reading assignments while texting her friends or checking Facebook. I disagree. What do you think? –Sandy M., New Canaan

We’re living in a connected world, and students today are accustomed to having their friends and favorite networks immediately available to them. It’s difficult for many people, students and adults alike, to try to get work done without any distractions at all. And so many assignments require students to be online, right alongside some of the biggest distractors of the day: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc. It’s not easy to ignore them.

That being said, your daughter will be a lot more productive and learn more if she makes an effort to block distractions. No study yet has shown multitasking to be useful or effective in a learning environment. In fact, it’s the opposite: Studies have shown that multitasking can slow down learning and affect long-term memory and retention. That means that while you’re going back and forth between texting and reading your textbook, you’re as not likely to retain or remember what you’ve read in the textbook as if you were focused on reading just that.

It’s not easy to change a habit, but challenge your daughter to spend the rest of the term focused on her studies when she’s doing her homework. That may mean putting the phone in another room or installing an app that blocks social media and other distracting sites while working online. At the same time, ensure that the space where she’s working is comfortable and well lit so that her environment is most conducive to learning. At the end of the term, talk to her about whether she feels it’s made a difference. She may be surprised!

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