Mobile Phone: distraction…attraction?

One of the common complaints that mobile phone communication is stuck with is that it generates distraction. Cognitive distraction occurs when an individual’s focus is not directly on the task which requires primary and a larger load of attention, and his/her mind “wanders” in other activities, such as, sending and receiving texts or calls, listening to music, playing games, connecting to the internet, repeated glancing expectantly on the phone etc. Below are some ways in which people get distracted from their primary task because of various aspects of mobile phone communication.

1.       The presence of a mobile phone around us takes our attention to the larger social community who can be reached by texting, calling, or the internet.

2.       Mobile phone reduces the quality of social interaction. Often even when you are physically with a group of friends, people catch themselves engaged with the larger social community, than with the one in whose presence you physically are.

3.       Researchers have found that sending and receiving messages during class makes students less effective at tasks such as note taking or paying attention to a class lecture.

4.       It is common knowledge, even with the fear of punishment, that mobile phones cause drivers to shift their eyes and minds off the road which have resulted in loss of life and property.

5.       People have acknowledged, often to their embarrassment, that they physically bumped into another person or an object in public view, when they were distracted by talking or texting on their phone.

6.       Many workplaces restrict mobile phone use when employees are on work duty because sending/receiving personal text messages or getting immersed in mobile phone based activities distracts employees from their job tasks and takes away time that is allocated for performing work duties.

7.       Crossing the street is a complex task, involving judgements about distances, speed, and acceleration patterns of vehicles. Using the mobile phone, while crossing or walking down the streets, is a dangerous distraction particularly for pre-adolescent children. It puts pedestrians at greater risk for both accidents and crime.

Were you distracted from any task because mobile phone communication? If so, please share your experience. From which primary task you were distracted and what aspect of mobile phone communication distracted you? Don’t forget to add any suggestion you would want to make about this topic with the community.

Finally, here’s a video by Nicole Cleveland that says it in video:

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