It’s official: we, as a society, have lost the art of watching TV.
We might have one eye studiously glued to Mad Men, but the other is almost always flicking over to the screen on another device, if not two, at the same time. Which is absurd, because TV watching is supposed to be a leisurely, uncomplicated activity.
If you’re guilty of a bit of screen-on-screen-on-screen action, you might want to listen up: this juggling act isn’t only distracting you from the plot of your favourite show — making you that annoying person who always has to ask ‘Wait, what just happened? Who’s that?’ — it could also be messing with your brain.
A study from the University of Copenhagen has concluded flicking between your phone, tablet, TV and/or computer (you multi-tasker, you) at the same time could be making you, ah… dumb.
If you really struggle to watch TV without multi-tasking, turn your favourite show into a workout game instead (post continues after gallery).
“Use of technology in our everyday lives is damaging the brain, causing it to rewire itself and lowering our IQ as a result,” the researchers concluded.
As the Daily Mail reports, using multiple devices at once was also found to be worse for your brain than being stoned. Yes, smoking marijuana is preferable health-wise to having your tablet on your lap during an episode of My Kitchen Rules. Evidently, this is because dividing your attention between different screens triggers the production of dopamine, a hormone that can affect your thought processes and cognitive ability and is often associated with drug use.
The researchers also claim concurrent gadget use is training our brains to be disorganised, because the information is being sent to your striatum — the region of the brain that influences movement and motivation.
Usually, when your focus is directed to just one task, the data is communicated to the brain’s hippocampus region, which is responsible for organising information and making it easier to recall.
Well now. That certainly explains why you can't keep up with the various subplots of Game of Thrones when you're 40 weeks deep on your ex's Instagram at the same time, doesn't it?
"Our brains could, thanks to our reliance and overuse of technology, be heading for the scrap heap," the researchers explained.
We are breaking our own brains, people. Maybe it's time to stop live-Tweeting The Block and just, ah, watch it instead.
Are you a screen juggler?