The Case For More Screen Time

Excerpt from this article:

For many of us, a certain mundane habit produces a surprising amount of guilt: Staring at a screen.

…Screen time can boost “executive function skills,” those competencies like reasoning and problem solving. For youngsters, time spent with the proper video games… can boost hand-eye coordination and foster logic… And as we rely more on texting and email, Calvert says small, positive symptoms could emerge: A knack for brevity, or a renewed appreciation for propriety, brought on by events like the recent Sony hack.

…”There seems to be pretty good evidence that our visual acuity improves… People’s ability to keep track of lots of different images or other bits of information simultaneously gets better.”

Online “lots of things tend to happen… So, the more time you spend online, you get quicker in your ability to shift your visual focus from one thing to another.” …Certain professionals—like surgeons, pilots, and soldiers—can hone their craft through video games.

…And what of the social impact? Lee Humphreys is an associate professor of communications at Cornell University. She specializes in the social effects of technology and the use of mobile phones in public spaces—and is swift to debunk the notion that whipping out a cell phone in public is taboo.

“We tend to romanticize history and the past in thinking that before cell phones, we were actively talking to the person next to us on the bus or in the park,” she says. “Of course, that was not the case at all. We have used media—whether it be newspapers, or books—as kinds of privacy shields historically.” Besides: Time spent socializing with others through screens can be time well spent, Humphreys adds.

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