Is social media destroying our attention span?
TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and other social media run our lives now. In turn, research indicates the human attention span is currently eight seconds. That’s a second less than a goldfish. Now while sources dispute the accuracy of this fact, it’s impossible to deny we are driving by our screens, and we favor quick bursts of information.
Annika Yeung, second year junior from Hong Kong, feel that her attention span is short from the usage of social media as TikTok.
“I think my attention span is shortened since I am easily distracted by numerous differing content appear on social media, and I can’t focus on one act or subject,” Annika told The Willistonian.
Tyla Taylor, AP psychology teacher and EMV dorm parent, agreed about the decreased focus among students.
“Social media is not only affecting students’ attention span but also teachers’ attention span,” said Taylor. “Our attention span is decreasing and part of the reason is the usage of social media and technology. Those [apps] call for multi-tasking, which is dividing your attention span.”
Selective attention, Taylor went on to explain, is the process of focusing on a single thing while excluding the external stimuli, while divided attention is focusing on multiple tasks simultaneously. Selective attention, she explained, is “collectively getting worse” with social media.
Decreasing distractions can be done to encourage more persistent attention, according to a Western Governors University blog post. If working on a laptop computer, try not to have too many tabs open at once; leaving an open email tab open might create a temptation to check new messages.
Taylor advices changing small habits and stopping phone usage 30 minutes before sleep to lessen dopamine levels.
“The issue of social media is that when you get notification there is a rush of dopamine,” she explained. “So trying to combat that, it is to be more mindful when you are with your devices and social media. Disconnect from them more often… when you wake up trying to do stretching before getting on the phone.”