One of these days our children could answer this and leave us with our eyes wide open … INFOXICATED? What the hell does that mean? This is a word that many of us are not yet acquainted with but is waiting just around the corner … I first heard of it at a gathering of friends, led by my good friend Fernando Tobias.
Well here it goes: ‘Infoxication’ is the stress produced when the information received is greater than the one we are able to process’. (Alfons Cornella). To put it colloquially: it is the intoxication we have to deal with due to an excess of information.
‘And how do you know that I am infoxicated?’ Well, since you ask me, let me share only 3 data with you.
A. – Each day we are exposed to over 6000 ads (TV, radio, Internet …)
B. – As managers, we have to read one million words per week, equivalent to 3 times reading the novel Don Quixote.
C. – On average we have 8 windows open on our computer simultaneously and jump from one to another every 20 seconds.
‘Ah, well,my job is not related to what you describe, mine is much quieter …’ It is possible, but nothing can stop the constant bombardment of information that we receive daily. In the Metro I see more people with an electronic device than with a book or newspaper. Increasingly the media invades our time and paradoxically, it is becoming harder to communicate.
What are the behaviors we adults show in this emerging era of infoxication?
– We feel the need to answer our phone while someone else is having a conversation with us
– Blackberry blinking accelerates our pulse
– We become more distracted and disconnected than before
– We have an “email apnea”: reading our mail very fast, while at the same time wondering who to respond to first; who can wait, who to call, which task has to be completed …
We do not realize, but we face the risk of drowning in a sea of information that we will not be able to manage. OUR ATTENTION IS BECOMING A SCARCE RESOURCE.
So? What does that have to do with my hyperactive child?.Well, this is a description of what we see in a hyperactive child: You can compare him or her with the tail of a lizard, unable to sit still for a moment. He´s used to have a disorganized activity, starting many different actions that he does not stop, playing at something, changing, returning, starting another activity that is not maintained until the end.
Any resemblance with what they see in us?
I acknowledge that I can be very persistent on insisting about parents being the first model that our children have to follow. I know. Moreover, many of you could say that you are not connected at home to your computer or any device … Okay. But let’s take look at our behavior at home. Let me share with with you what I am able to do ONLY in the kitchen. Me, the supermom of my house: I think ‘I’ll make dinner,’ and, as I am super efficient, I do several other things: I tidy a drawer, empty the dishwasher, check the fridge to update the shopping list for this weekend (by the way, I also have to pick up a suit from the cleaners…by the way,, where did I put the receipt?) and answer the phone like a robot when it rings. Miraculously I go back to the pan because I have an internal clock that tells me it’s time to do it, while I decide that it is time to set the table, and take out the second course from the refrigerator.…
I might be thinking I should be proud of how I have everything under control, but is this true? I consider that my level of demand is so high that I have no choice but to behave as would a hyperactive, and the worst thing is that my brain gets used to this routine, and applies it to all areas of my life. Think a bit … do you see yourself reflected in what I just described, or are you so really lucky that you can partition each task in your daily life, and can be concentrated on everything you do?
I am convinced that the new work and communication habits imposed by the modern world influences us more than we want in our private lives, and this has a direct and harmful impact on our children and even more if they are hyperactive or have attention deficit.
‘Mom, could you please take a look to my homework? Yes, darling, sure, just give me two minutes, I have to turn off the dryer … and I am lost in my multitasking routine and he forgets what he just asked. What a picture …Does it sound familiar?
There are many authors who write about and infoxication.I made a brief summary of what I’ve read so far:
A. – Multitasking causes a state of over-excitement that makes concentration very difficult to maintain (David Meyer)
B. – According to Linda Stone, we are suffering the Syndrome of continuous partial attention, that is, we are constantly paying only partial attention to what we are doing or saying
The consequences are:
An attention crisis that has the potential to remove our concentration and our productive way of doing. Coming back to concentration; a single task has become a challenge (this is very similar to what happens to our children with ADHD, as described in my post MY VISION in front of your NO INTENTION). We have a battery of distractions at hand, while trying to finish something. This is an intellectual challenge, a struggle to regain our attention. Controlling the mind,is like controlling a being who likes to wander and is subjected to hundreds of distractions, demands, discipline and energy. We should not lose our analytical capacity, because this will lead to bad decisions and wrong conclusions.
It is important that we design strategies to combat infoxication where it should not occur: in the private sphere.
As Daniel Sieberg proposes, we can practice the “de-teching’, in other words: disconnect in order to connect, and have the willpower to turn off all our devices when we know we are in front of matters or persons that require and deserve our full attention. It can be done radically, or gradually. This is the decision; a very necessary one so as to internalize, implement,and prevent new technologies and our somehow irrational self-demands sculpting our brains as adults.
It is important to bring calm at home…When will we be starting?