Of course, parents aren't the only ones that have a hard time concentrating. Kids, teenagers, and even babies don't focus well in certain environments. According to the International Communication Association and a report from WebMD, babies and kids ages eight months to eight years who are exposed to large amounts of background TV are at a disadvantage. Their mental tasks are often interrupted by the background sights and sounds, and this, in turn, can lead to language and academic problems.
As I wrote last week, teenagers who allow social technology like Facebook and texting to interrupt them during study time are likely to get lower grades than those who don't. Checking Facebook even just one time per fifteen minutes will likely result in lower grades. (See Facebook: Friend or Foe? by the American Psychological Association.)
Even kids' sleep can be interrupted. Blue lights from computers, TVs, wireless modems, and other gadgets can interfere with sleep (WebMD.com). TV can disturb preschoolers' sleep, depending on the timing and nature of the television program (CNN.com). And being "overwired" in general, through excessive use of video games, cell phones, and Internet use, can cause a child to lose a good night's sleep (Minneapolis Star Tribune).
There are many unanswered questions about how our use of technology interrupts our thought processes and tasks. Psychologists and other social scientists are constantly looking for answers. Regardless of what they discover, managing our family's screen time, background TV, and other distractions can be something very worthwhile to focus on.