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10 From GEM: Attention Span and Technology

Clearer Thinking

10 From GEM:
Attention Span and Technology


How long has it been since you’ve read a book? How long can you sit down for and read the paper? How many times do you check those notifications? What about those texts? Is it all really necessary?

Many studies correlate parallels between a decrease in attention span because of increased screen time. We are a society that has become dependent on mobile phones, tablets, and computers. We have to check those social media ‘likes’ and emoticons and who responded to our photo of our lunch or perfectly pedicured foot. Really? Why do we thrive on so much validation from ‘cyber’ friends? Why is all that so important? Think about this. How many of your social media friends will be there when you’re down or going through a rough time? How many will show up at your wake? Think about that.

Attention spans are steadily decreasing and people are less tolerant of situations and are more ready to explode for the merest episode. Our ability to stay on the same task for an extended period of time without distraction is steadily decreasing. In fact, ADHD type behaviors are surfacing with people of all ages. Children on average are spending more than 6-hours on some kind of device. People are carrying their mobile devices everywhere, engaging while walking, in their home and many while driving. In fact, I haven’t been in one social setting where someone isn’t on their mobile device. I see people constantly on their mobile devices. I can say with great certainty that the human species will eventually evolve into having bigger thumbs and smaller mouths from all the texting and reduced talking.

This constant sustained attention with frequent rewards, the playing of video games for example, or the watching of fast paced movies and television shows as another example, can be related to the fast pacing of electronic media which increases attention issues. People adapt to these speeds and then often subsequently struggle when slower paced life tasks are presented. This is creating a lack of patience and reduced tolerance. People, through the fast-paced video games, and television shows and movies are being stimulated quicker and find it difficult to revert to a slower more deliberate approach.

We’ve got to slow down, put the mobile devices away, turn off notifications and turn off that television set. Instead, allot certain times of the day for these activities and instead engage in activities that will have you feeling better about yourself, and your sociability with those around you will improve.


1. Get More Active

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We need to turn off technology and become more active. Go outdoors with your kids, move about, go for walks, go to the park. Allow the kids to participate in selecting activities. At best use the screen time to find exercise videos.


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