I was reading the comments on Master Daughter’s Blog this evening. And, had to give a shiver at one. Talisman, with his ADD comment, seems to have “foreseen” this post I was working on this morning, but had not posted yet.
I grew up in the television age and now live in the Internet age. I remember placing my children in front of Sesame Street, as I made the morning doughnuts. Actually, I did make doughnuts, not every morning and certainly not for the healthiest of breakfasts, but I was playing June Cleever at the time.
One daughter, sat quietly and watched tv, soaking up all the information being fed to her. Expanding her brain, and her hips. She is my Master’s Daughter, who would still rather sit and read, knit or Blog, and who spends her summers off from teaching gifted sixth graders, by studying the life cycle of eggs or looking at tomatoes under an electron microscope, whilst wearing a space suit and a badge with a light that goes off right before she becomes supercharged and loses all her calcium. If you need an explanation, Shame on you! You haven’t been reading the most hilarious blog in the universe. http://Braindebris.WordPress.com At least I got it right that time.
The other daughter, sat, not quietly, using the hassock as a jungle gym. She spent the rest of her childhood being pulled by a dog while wearing roller skates (She wore the roller skates, not the dog). I believe she even took showers in those roller skates and delighted in standing on her head and waving her feet in front of the television, thus driving her Master’s sister to push her into the cabinet; (as in “push in and shut the door”) on a daily basis.
Wikipedia, my favorite source for information, tells us that a study of 2,600 children, ages 1 to 3, in 2004 found that exposure to television may affect their attention span and that internet browsing may also. Attention span – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
In looking at my two daughters, I have to say that our family has disproved this notion. Master’s Daughter, the tv watcher, attended college as an adult, graduated with honors and a Master’s degree; all while raising three sons and Super-Sized husband. (For those of you not in the know, supersized husband is very tall (at least compared to me), and has many traits of a man reverting to the age of twelve; thus becoming her fourth child. It takes a lot of attention span to keep up with that.
Daughter, who has eleven children, has floated most of her life. I do believe she still wants her roller skates back, but don’t we all and, perhaps, from what little tv she watched may have come the tendency to believe and do anything her husband tells her; thus she is clearly having a problem thinking for herself. Is ADD to blame? Certainly the number of children she has shows concentration in one aspect of her life. And, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love and adore all the munchkins and miss them terribly.
To take this study one step further, I went to Psychology Today and took their Attention Span Test. Psychology Today: Self Tests. My family, when growing up, had the first television on the block. My father was addicted from the first time he turned that dial on. He took a night correspondence television repair course, well it could have been done by day too, most correspondence courses are somewhat flexible that way, but he worked for Combustion Engineering during the day.
As children from other houses in our neighborhood took home the word of how wonderful this invention was, that the VanVleck’s have, and nagged their families into purchasing a television, my dad became the man to call when it didn’t work right. His move, to retire to Arkansas, saw the largest bonfire in Lake County, Indiana, as we burned the television cabinets he had saved for years, over a two day period.
I felt that I was a good test sample to see if television may have affected my attention span, so I took Psychology Today’s test. (from the link above). This is their report to me: “According to your score, you sometimes have difficulty maintaining your focus on a task and following it through until completion. People who have short attention spans tend to jump from project to project and are often known to be quite disorganized. This frequently results in missed deadlines, tardiness, and bills being paid late. “
I have never paid a bill late, well hardly ever, I do not miss deadlines and I am rarely tardy. However, I do have a problem with jumping from project to project. A Big problem.
Right now, I have so many projects either started or half done, that I could live to be two hundred and probably never finish them: quilt squares for Master Daughter, quilt for someone undecided (almost finished for ten years now), a quilt for each grandchild (most are already designed with fabric purchased, photo albums for each grandchild (pictures are sorted), sweater for husband (have yarn), endless photos to create paintings from (my new project involves shadows. That way I have an excuse to take more pictures, to put off more painting.), I have a garden sized gorilla just started in my ceramics studio and a project on women’s perception of beauty well underway. Add to that the desperate need to get the house organized and I’m looking at a life sentence here. And, those darn “knit in the round” socks are cast on for the third time. One Mystery novel needs major editing and revision. One children’s picture book just needs to be put in order to send out.
However, I have just spent the last two plus years working daily on my Young Adult novel and I have fifty pages left of my fifth edit. I’m already crafting my query letter to agents and editors, and I have started a sketchbook that will, hopefully add interest-even if they give this to a book artist for illustrations, because it is a fantasy and maps and details are nice for kids to look at. SO, when it is important enough, I can finish a project. Should we withhold judgment on that until the book is in the hands of a publisher? I need to also mention that it may take major surgery to make me finish a project, as that is how I started this one.
I have been a computer buff since the KAYPRO. They say the Internet also lowers attention span. If anything, it has helped mine as I tend to click too quickly and miss all kinds of stuff. Like on WordPress, the front page changes by the second. I’ll never know now, since I clicked too fast at sign on: just what kind of haircut your kid gets when you let your punk friends take the child for a haircut, or Why Bill Gates is just Now Learning What Dog food Tastes Like (He is retired in a New York walk up and reduced to this?) and Just what does happen if you wear lipstick?
If I click too fast on my online bank, I am locked out time and again, until they decide that I am an intruder and I have to call the bank to reset my password. I am now on a first name basis with the woman who does this. So, the internet is forcing me to slow down and Meditate on which button to push next. Such decisions! No wonder I don’t have time to finish all my projects.
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