Technology Distraction Essay Example

  • Category: Media, Social Issues,
  • Pages: 4
  • Words: 1013
  • Published: 21 July 2020
  • Copied: 124


In this day and age, technology is all around our surroundings. In fact, technological devices are so prevalent that 96% of Americans own a cellphone of some kind, according to the Pew Research Center. It seems technological devices, even cellular, are so common that it is very likely this is being read by means of a screen. Many may see this as a benefit as more people are able to communicate with others around the world. However, some may not see it as an entirely good thing. 

Sherry Turkle, respected endowed chair holder at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and founder of the MIT Initiative on Technology and the Self, finds the increase of use of “screens” as a distraction. Her famous book, Reclaiming Conversation: the Power of Talk in a Digital Age (2015), contains an excerpt titled: “Education: Attentional Disarray”, in which Turkle argues the dangers of the commonality of electronic devices. Without a doubt, Turkle’s first section is the absolute most effective in her rhetoric. Her proper and flowing use of logos, ethos, and pathos construct a fluid and convincing argument. This section, “The Myth of Multitasking,” is the most effective as she best uses ethos to convince the reader, while subtly adding pathos to move the reader’s emotions. All of this is tied up perfectly using logic; the logos aspect of her argument.

Turkle’s first section excellently quotes various sources of prestidge, creating a credible evidence aspect in her argument. She argues against texting on a cellular device while attempting to pay attention in class, a practice Turkle calls “multitasking.” However, this definition may be broadened to simply using electronic devices to attempt to complete multiple tasks at once. Sherry Turkle’s credentials already add credibility to her own argument, as she is a renowned chair holder at MIT. However, in avoidance of the fallacy of argument from authority, she continues to cite credible sources to support her arguments proficiently. One such case is when she states “...Multitasking gives us a neurochemical high so we think we’re doing better and better when actually we are doing worse and worse” (180). She quotes this particular claim from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, from an article called “Cognitive Control in Media Multitaskers.”

However, she does not only just quote huge and credible studies, but also smaller more relatable sources. Turkle further supports her argument that electronic devices cause a distraction in the classroom when she quotes, Oliver, one of the more “studious” students. The text states “He does admit that once he’s texting, the possibilities for concentrating are pretty much gone: ‘You can’t focus on the thing you are doing when you are sending the text…’” (180). Clearly Turkle only gathers information from respected sources, resulting in a strong foundation for her arguments, while also quoting fellow students, to allow younger readers to better relate and understand. 

Turkle does not fault in her use of logic to conduct her arguments. Her initial argument in this particular section, “The Myth of Multitasking” is that there is a lack of attention as a result of the use of technology in the classrooms. Sherry Turkle is essentially arguing that when one uses electronic devices in the classroom, they cease to inquire attention to the class lecture. She subtly tackles a counter argument, one which could be that even if they are using electronic devices, does not mean they are no longer fully focused on the class.

Turkle classifies this as multitasking, and, using credible sources, debunks the counter-argument as she proves multitasking actually lessens focus and efficiency in all tasks attempted to be completed. Turkle further strengthens her argument as she also cites a study that states “By 2012, nine in ten college students say that they text in class” (Turkle. 180). She also presents another argument; that it does not just take one to pull out their phone to be distracted individually, but others can distract others with their own electronic devices.

This is perhaps, again, subtly presenting a defense to a possible counter-argument: that students may simply not take out their electronic devices, and they will pay attention. Turkle brings up a danger that even that will not stop distractions, as other students may distract the student trying to focus with their electronic devices. “In classrooms, the distracted are a distraction: Studies show that when students are in class multitasking on laptops, everyone around them learns less” (181). Sherry Turkle’s logical arguments in this piece are well crafted, especially in the section “The Myth of Multitasking.” She presents arguments, and supporting arguments that also counter possible counter-arguments. 

Turkle’s article does not present an ample amount of pathos, however the little that she does include is quite effective. In one particular instance, Turkle quotes a young boy named Oliver, a high school senior in Connecticut, on his experience with texting during class. Oliver states “I’m almost always bored and I want to be somewhere else and I’m almost always texting” (Turkle. 180). However this may add some credibility to the argument that electronic devices cause distractions, it does not support it with enough strength to convince a reader. One testimony does not equal a general rule.

Turkle’s likely purpose in this is simply to allow the reader to relate to moments when one perhaps caught themselves texting continuously, further proving for the reader the distractions devices may cause. There is another instance in which Turkle quotes Oliver reflecting on his future usage of electronic devices in class. “Boredom is a thing of the past” (180). This could also perhaps cause the reader to reflect on one’s own usage of electronics in the classroom, further convincing the reader of the distraction these devices may pose. As one can see, Turkle clearly uses very small and subtle pathos methods to further convince the reader of her argument. She caused the reader to simply reflect on their own usage of electronic devices in the classroom, causing them to either realize their own distractions or their peers’ distractions. 

Without a doubt, Turkle’s first section, “The Myth of Multitasking,” is the most effective. Turkle uses respectable sources and comprehensive studies from credible origins to further base her argument upon. Turkle also demonstrates proper usage of logic to argue to her conclusion, utilizing credible sources, and tackling possible counter-arguments. She does this all while including subtle quotes and reflections from students to allow the reader to remind themselves of their own experiences with distractions from electronic devices in the classroom, causing the reader to further believe the argument. All of this encompasses a very effective section in usage of logos, ethos, and pathos.