It feels like right now, our attention spans are shorter now than at any point during the tech boom. We now have so much information at our fingertips that whenever something doesn’t hold our attention for more than a few seconds, we keep scrolling or searching until we find something else that annoys us for a similar amount of time .
We can learn a lot of new things that would be hard to find without the use of technology. I can order food delivered to my house, buy TV online, watch my favorite sports team, and talk to family members via text message, all with the click of a few buttons. Due to the tremendous progress we’ve made over the years, our technological capabilities today are virtually limitless. Technology has made everything more convenient for us. That’s part of the problem.
A relatively new study conducted by Microsoft a year ago found that the average human attention span has dropped to 8.25 seconds, a 25% reduction from previous years. For reference, the average human attention span in 2000 was 12 seconds. On the surface, this might seem bad, but it would be worse than the fact that the average goldfish has an attention span of 9 seconds. If all of this information is true (which is widely believed), we now have worse attention spans than animals with much smaller brains than we do. why is that?
Usually, the simplest answer is usually correct. Our daily life is always surrounded by technology. We use technology for our work, personal pleasure, and many other things. It’s almost impossible to go all day without using technology at least once, and I’m deeply guilty of that.
Whenever I get a weekly notification on my phone about how many hours of screen time I had in the last week, I become aware of my overuse of technology.
Every time I look at this number, I realize how much time I spend on my phone without even noticing what I’m doing. In my most recent screen time this week, I spent a total of 14 hours and 10 minutes on my phone. The two apps I spend the most time on are Messages and YouTube, which make the most sense because Messages is how I communicate with people most often, and I often use YouTube videos as background noise while doing homework.
Looking at that number I just mentioned, I’d be completely disingenuous if I said I didn’t overuse technology a little bit myself, and I know other people who have. Dr Sharon Horwood, Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology, Deakin University, In a 2018 study on mobile phone usage issues, 33% of respondents admitted to feeling anxious or tense if they didn’t check their phone within a certain time frame.
We need to examine what is going on all the time, so much so that it causes anxiety in people. It shows how much our technology can influence us. That doesn’t necessarily mean the technology is useless, though.
Of course, there are benefits to having so much technology on hand at all times. It’s a huge part of our lives, and I certainly wouldn’t deny that. I can’t imagine how bad it would be if I had to write everything by hand and was never allowed to use my phone or computer to type. We live in an age where we have access to more information than at any other time in human history. Still, we must be cognizant of the extent of our technology use and how overused they are.