Adolescents in the times of modern technology: Are they mindful or are their minds full?
Background: Modern technology such as the internet and cell phones unleash a virtual gusher of information to the plugged in brain. Adolescents are at the forefront of this digital revolution, and they spend more time online than ever before. This causes many societal and personal side effects, such as limited attention span and reduced verbal memory. Knowing that the brain slows growing after 13 years of age, it is imperative to introduce a buffer against such loss.
Aim: This study analyses Mindfulness based intervention as a mean for improving the attention and memory of early adolescents.It is a pilot study with the objective to assess the acceptability and feasibility of the intervention.
Methods: 20 adolescents (aged 10-14) participated in the study- ten in experimental group, and ten who were matched on age and intelligence in the control group. The training comprised of ten sessions of 45 minutes each, on a weekly basis. Pre and post assessments were conducted. Analysis consisted of independent and paired t-test between both groups, as well as qualitative assessment such as attendance and personal feedback.
Results: t tests show statistically significant differences between the two groups for attention- focussed and sustained and verbal memory. While the experimental group showed significant improvement in cognitive functions after the study, no significant improvement was seen in the control group.
Conclusions: Results as well as high retention rate, high attendance and positive feedback indicate that the training is feasible and acceptable. Further research is needed to test the efficacyof the intervention with a larger sample.