Students, Please Check Your Facebook Status Now

There’s not a professor I know who hasn’t bemoaned Facebook, texting, iDevices, etc. as in part responsible for the decline of students’ attentions spans (if not, at times, the decline of the Western world). Psychologist Larry Rosen of California State University – Dominguez Hills has a suggestion, perhaps even a solution: Rather than chide a classroom of college students wondering if they’ve gotten that text from someone or if someone(s) has (have) responded to their status update, Rosen suggests giving students a “tech break.” Letting students take a couple minutes off to use technology — so they know they won’t be entirely “tech-deprived” for a certain block of time — can actually help them to focus better, he says.

Says education website Hechsinger Report:

In a forthcoming bookiDisorder, Rosen argues that all our tech gadgets and applications are turning us into basket-cases suffering from versions of obsessive-compulsive disorder and attention-deficit syndrome.

“Kids are thinking all the time, ‘Oh my god, who texted me? What’s on Facebook?’” says Rosen….. He says the average computer programmer or medical student can only stay focused on a task in front of him- or herself for three minutes.

A “tech break” works, says Rosen, because it helps you satisfy that gnawing desire to check for texts or tweets or comments, etc.. Having checked, you have then “literally freed up space in your brain to focus on more important things, like solving the global energy crisis or creating world peace.”

Of course, taking such breaks too frequently (even five minutes, for instance) would defeat the purpose. Rosen suggests structured intervals of studying, focusing, research-paper writing, etc., interspersed with tech breaks. You could read your anatomy and physiology textbook for 10 minutes then take your tech break for a minute. A parent could have a child study for 30 focused minutes, then let her or him their tech break for 15 minutes or save the minutes up to use later, thereby teaching a child a lesson about delaying immediate gratification.

Rosen’s idea can be seen as a common-sense strategy many of us learn to use at one time or another, motivating ourselves to complete a larger task by giving ourselves breaks or rewards — positive reinforcement, to quote from behaviorism — at intervals. Implementing Rosen’s tech breaks in an actual college classroom or lecture hall might not really be possible. But it is notable that Rosen, rather than defying texting, Facebook and the like and dubbing them the enemies of learning, takes into account how integral such technologies have become in the lives and ways of being not only of students, but of many of us.

Rosen’s in-class tech-break suggestion makes texting in (gasp!) class acceptable, within pre-defined parameters. If it’s no longer forbidden to text or check FB in class, could students find that tuning into a professor’s discussion about Satan as the hero of Milton’s Paradise Lost or Weber’s theory of the Protestant work ethic and capitalism is worth a “like” or two?

Related Care2 Coverage

Social Media as an Educational Tool, in Missouri or Otherwise

Low-Tech Learning In a Tech-Obsessed World

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Photo by bigburpsx3


Diane B.
Diane B.4 years ago

I 'm paying $700+ per class for a teacher to teach, for the entire time. Students can do their "personal" stuff on THEIR own time!

Judith Corrigan
Judith Corrigan4 years ago

Well at least they will have experience of five years of texting and checking Facebook if they don't manage to get any qualifications.

Starlite M.
Starlite M.4 years ago

why so when they are at their jobs they feel like the most important thing is their cell phone not you the customer? So have to check it every 5 minutes so you as their co-worker have to work harder to keep up the pace and get the job done? Or when they are running that red light? Tech break? They can't wait?

Kayla Baumann
Past Member 4 years ago

A classroom should be for learning! Why are students checking their Facebook? Aren't they with their friends? Why is that so important?

Cheryl B.
Cheryl B.4 years ago

that's what recess is for

Bruce S.
Bruce S.4 years ago

After you sign the initial petiton above, other petitions are then presented for you to sign;


Marilyn L.
Marilyn L.4 years ago

I'm with you Pam W

Pam W.
Pami W.4 years ago

The classroom should be all about learning not keeping in touch with on line communication.

Mary Redden
Mary Redden4 years ago

Well, it's a shame that student's (and people in general) are so attached to their social-networking (and their ego's) that this is necessary. Unfortunately this has become the new normal and, yes, the student's should get 'tech-breaks'. Otherwise they begin to jones I guess. I'm a student in high school and I'm sometimes glad I don't have a phone....Some people really are zombies on their phones. Sorry if I sound all "get off my lawn!"-ish... lol

Paula L.
Paula L.4 years ago

Class is what it is class! You are there to learn, not post, tweet or blog! You are paying a school and teacher so you can learn and someday use that knowledge to become someone who makes a difference in one form or another in others lives as well as your own, what ever that profession you choose maybe. You are not paying them to give you breaks to post, tweet or blog. Do that on your potty or lunch break! If you can't keep your attention trained on your teacher's teachings or class projects, etc....then you will not be able to concentrate on your business or job in the future you are studying to reach for, so why are you even in the classroom? NO! to breaks to post, tweet or blog during classroom hours.