Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Parenting

Font Size

Back to School in a Wired World

Are electronic gadgets turning kids into multitasking pros, or are they just dragging them down?

Q.My teenager does homework, listens to an iPod, and sends instant messages on the computer -- all at the same time. Could this multitasking hinder learning? continued...

Compared to active multitasking, does listening to music while studying create the same type of distraction? That's less clear, Poldrack says. "Our work doesn't really show that that passive kind of background noise is necessarily a bad thing. We haven't looked at it."

It depends on the student, Healy says. "With music in the background, you still may be able to focus. Some kids can and some can't."

If a parent is alarmed that a teen is multitasking too much, dictating change usually doesn't work, Healy says. She suggests giving a teen a news article about the hazards of multitasking and asking, "What do you think you might be able to do about this?"

"Get your child thinking about what this means to them and their learning," she says. "Let the kid make the plan. That way, they have ownership over it."

For example, teens might find that their ability to focus improves -- as well as grades in school -- if they separate homework and active distractions as much as possible. That may mean doing only homework for 45 minutes, then taking a 15-minute break to instant-message friends, make phone calls, or update a MySpace or Facebook page.

Q. My 10-year-old daughter begs for a cell phone because all of her close friends own one. Should I give her one?

A. Teens who drive may need a cell phone for safety reasons. But cell phones "are not generally recommended for preteens," says Regina Milteer, MD, a representative of the American Academy of Pediatrics' Council on Communications and Media. Children that young may not be responsible enough to own a cell phone.

"But to be very, very realistic," Milteer says, some preteens may need a cell phone for emergencies -- for instance, if they walk alone from school to their home or a parent's office.

If parents decide to give a child a cell phone, they'll have more control over usage if they go with a prepaid cell phone plan, in which a parent buys minutes ahead of time and replenishes as needed, Milteer says.

What if there's no compelling reason to buy a preteen a cell phone, other than peer pressure?

You can tell your child no, Milteer says. You can talk, though, about getting a phone in the future, when your child becomes more independent and may need to touch base with you about after-school plans.

Today on WebMD

Girl holding up card with BMI written
Is your child at a healthy weight?
toddler climbing
What happens in your child’s second year.
father and son with laundry basket
Get your kids to help around the house.
boy frowning at brocolli
Tips for dealing with mealtime mayhem
mother and daughter talking
child brushing his teeth
Sipping hot tea
Young woman holding lip at dentists office
Which Vaccines Do Adults Need
rl with friends
tissue box
Child with adhd