Divided attention between mobile phones, laptops, TV, and tablets, a phenomenon known as second screening, may cause brain damage and trigger depression and emotional problems, scientists believe.
This behavior is happening right now in our future generation. Nearly two thirds of teenagers in Britain use a second screen while watching TV.
Researchers at the University of Sussex scanned the brains of 75 volunteers and questioned them about their use of mobile phones, computers as well as television and print media.
People who used a higher number of media devices had smaller grey matter density in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). That area of the brain was smaller in people who used the most electronic devices simultaneously. It's the area which regulates emotions and is involved in decision making, reasoning, impulse control and empathy.
Scientists have previously demonstrated that prolonged exposure to new environments and experiences can alter the brain.
In one instance, London taxi drivers who have learned every route in the complicated city are known to have an enlarged hippocampus in the brain, associated with navigation in birds and animals.
Also, jugglers increase the white matter in their brains through practice, which speeds up movement and reaction time.
In the latest research, the team at the University of Sussex's Sackler Centre for Consciousness supports earlier studies showing connections between high media-multitasking activity and poor attention in the face of distractions, along with emotional problems such as depression and anxiety. Has society gone mad?
Futuristic novel plots, like I Robot, highlight the drawbacks. Perhaps the swift march of technical progress will really lead to mankind's downfall, after which we allow robots to take over.
Leaving fiction aside, the damage caused by media-multitasking is worrying, isn't it?