A mystery for parents: how can a child who can play video games for hours without so much as a bathroom break be unable to focus on homework for 15 minutes? The easy answer is that video games are “cool” and entertaining and homework is anything but. However research tells us something deeper.
It turns out that if you brain scan youth while playing video games, their frontal lobes, the part of the brain that control learning, emotions, memory and self-control, are not active, while the regions of the brain managing vision and movement light up. Run the same scans on kids doing simple math exercises, and now large regions of the frontal lobe activate.
In other words, when we see someone in front of an Xbox, we say they’re concentrating. And when we see someone studying, we say they’re concentrating. Yet we’re using the same word to describe very different internal processes. Worse still, since video game attention doesn’t activate the frontal lobe, I have a strong suspicion (and some personal experience to back this up) that Xbox-attention may even conflict with or erode study-attention.
Something to think about if you are a student or a parent.