Human Well-Being in a Media Multitasking Environment

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 9:30 AM
Room: Harbor Lounge A
Oral Presentation
The paper discusses the relationship between media multitasking (MM) and human well-being.

Media multitasking (MM) is changing the way people think, talk, learn, socialize and view the world. MM has both cognitive and behavioral consequences on human beings. On the one hand, it  drains the brain altering memory, linguistic ability, and learning process and, also, overwhelming humans with a huge amount of potential information, it can lead them to a feeling of being paralyzed and unable to make decisions. On the other hand, being pervasive in people’s lives, MM shapes their social interactions creating new “social aliens”, and let them experience a weaker capability of being connected with their own self.

Generation gap makes a big difference in the perception of how profoundly MM is affecting human well-being. And in this respect, in an evolutionary framework, does the “digital immigrant” (M. Prensky) original mould risk of disappearing  to leave the place to the “digital native” new mould,  shaped with new cognitive and behavioral characteristics? Are the digital natives going to create a new meaning for human well-being?  Or the digital immigrants will be able to drive to a third model?

The paper reviews the literature on the topic, examines the above issues and, based on some empirical results, proposes some perspectives for the future.