As I have explained in my book, almost any activity that is interspersed between learning events, is an interference that can reduce learning efficiency. When children constantly interrupt study (even classroom work) by talking on their cell phones or text messaging, they reduce the efficacy of registering and remembering what they are supposed to learn. This often occurs in an environment of multi-tasking (listening to IPod or MP3 players, playing videogames, blogging, posting on MySpace or Facebook, etc.). These activities create a brain that has a short attention span and difficulty in focusing.
Now comes new scientific evidence that cell phone use may actually change brain chemistry. Some scientists say that cellphone use does have a biological effect on the brain. A recent study at Örebro University in Sweden reported that physical changes occur in brain from the radiation emitted by cell phones. Cellphone use increases the amount of a protein called transthyretin, which is a carrier of thyroid hormones in serum and is part of the ceberospinal fluid that cushions and protects the brain. But the researchers did not comment if the change is good or bad for the brain. But in any case, this should give us pause.
Children are more likely to be affected by cell-phone radiation than adults. Children have much thinner skull bones and their brains have a lot more fluid, so their brain tissues would likely absorb much more radiation compared to an adult’s brain.
The Swedish study found that children and teenagers who were heavy cell phone users were indeed more likely to report health problems. These included headaches and impaired concentration. This impaired concentration may have a biological cause in addition to the poor habits of mind that develop from excessive multi-tasking.
Source: Adapted from materials provided by The Swedish Research Council, via AlphaGalileo.