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The Thunderbolt

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The Thunderbolt

Timpview's official news site

The Thunderbolt

How Social Media Is Affecting Our Attention Spans


          Have you ever planned to have a productive Saturday, but instead spent it on Youtube or Instagram, and in a flash of an eye the day is already done? The amount of information that we take in every single day from our phones is amazing, but this technology has a serious impact on our attention spans. In the past couple of years, there has been a lot of discussion and research done on this topic.  It got me thinking about my own attention span and how social media affects it. The average person spends around 3 hours and 15 minutes a day on social media and 9 years spent on their phones over the course of their whole lives.

Our generation has developed a habit of not being able to focus when we have to read a book or do a monotonous task, and checking social media has become an involuntary response to momentary boredom.  The short-form format you see on Instagram and Tic-Tok has reduced the average attention span to 8 seconds, compared to 12 seconds in 2000. We consume so much information on our phones in such a short amount of time that our brains can’t catch up. The way this format delivers instant gratification keeps us focused on it for hours at a time. When a book gets boring or learning a new skill is hard, or when you get stuck alone with your own thoughts, you switch to doing something mediocre online instead of challenging yourself. 

You can also see the impact social media has had on the news. Articles must post click-bait headlines to get traffic. Posts online also have to do this, and you’ll often see two or more clips playing at the same time to get your maximum attention. This also doesn’t help attention spans and increases our need for stimulation.

To combat this, there are several tactics you can use. I personally recommend keeping your phone out of your morning routine. Try putting built-in screentime limits on social media. Fight the habit of pulling out your phone whenever you’re bored. To improve sleep, stay off of your phone a full hour before bed. This can help sever your dependance on your phone and allows you to become a more independent person.

Anyone who has a phone knows how difficult it can be to focus when you have the entire internet at your literal fingertips. Our attention spans have definitely suffered from this type of content. We have to live in the world we created, so you must control your own attention span and improve yourself.

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About the Contributor
Harlon Komenkul, Entertainment Writer
Class of 2023. I am in the Entertainment group. I am into world history, especially 20th-century history, and recently been trying to watch the top 100 movies on IMDb.

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    calixMay 17, 2023 at 1:04 PM

    how can I read this? there’s no pictures!