Does Social Media Cause A Three-Minute Attention Span?
What is social media? Social media is the collection of online communications channels dedicated to community-based input interaction, content sharing and collaboration (Rouse).
A three-minute span is a short time to have someone’s attention, especially if it is an important message that you would like to share with them.
The social media has become such an addiction that the attention span of many individuals throughout the world has decreased when it pertains to other engagement in their life.
Their attention span is as short as three minutes, which is a very short time to have someone’s attention, and it is not something that will be healthy for individuals in the future.
In particular, the youths of this current generation are the ones who are under attack by this negative impact of social media. Many social media sites weigh heavily on the short attention span.
The top three social media sites responsible for three minute attention span.
The trending media that does it the most are Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
The reason why I believe those social media sites are the ones that shorten the attention span of many people today is that while doing my research, I found on eBizMBA that Facebook was the top trending social media sites and Twitter was following while Instagram was on the top ten list.
I, therefore, choose those sites to discuss because they are the most popular.
In 2010 when I first heard about Facebook I was very eager to join because everyone was talking about it and how exciting and cool it was. Finally, in December 2010 I created an account.
Facebook was first designed to be used by college students but as it grew the co-founder of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg decided to have it accessible to the entire world.
It became viral quickly and had done a lot of harm and good as well. On this social media sites, you can share your daily life with friends and family over the internet.
If you ask me, I would say that Facebook has become its own news site. When you log on to Facebook, the first thing that appears is your news feed.
The word already speaks for itself. With social media, you can advertise different events that are taking place. The young people especially wants to know what is going on in the community so that they can be a part of it or attend a special event.
Negative impact of social media
It brings people business or gossip to you which in other words is news. We are using technology on a daily basis, but we don’t understand its effect on us.
An article written on Mail Online under the title ‘Is technology rotting your brain?’ revealed that heavy mobile phone and internet usage are linked to poor attention span.
A previous research by DR Hadlington had shown that people who spent excessive amounts of time online were less able to focus on specific tasks, but Dr. Hadlington said this is the first time the effect of technology on our daily lives was measured in this way (Millner).
In the eyes of most of the young people, they see fun and excitement when it comes to social media and that’s why some of them get themselves caught up in all sorts of trouble.
Through Twitter, you can see the posts that are trending throughout the world, and when it comes to popular events or famous star around the world, the adolescents of today have to keep up to date with them.
They focus more on these things rather than the stuff that they should actually pay attention to such as their school work.
This negative impact on their life is becoming a disease. It’s like an addiction. For example, if they are trying to get something else productive done like school work or preparing their clothes for the next day to go school or even doing their chores, and they hear their phones go off due to a notification, they would stop what they are doing immediately to respond to what’s going on in social media.
Through the social media, there is also cyberbullying taking place which causes many youths of today to commit suicide.
I am sure that parents do not want to see their child takes their life because of what unkind persons have been sharing about them on the social media.
Another strong attraction to social media by young people is that they rely increasingly on it to feed their vulnerable sense of self-esteem, and so they enter an addictive cycle of dependency on the feedback they receive through the technology (Brech).
What has changed here is that in the past, they relied on feedback that came from face-to-face interaction with their friends and family (Brech). Sadly, that rarely happens anymore; they turn straight to social media.
Putting your life in pictures and videos is what you might basically consider Instagram to be when you experience it.
When I first experienced this social media app, I saw mostly selfies. It went to the extreme where persons began to start giving themselves the title of a selfie queen.
Personally, I would say that it can be a very addictive app if you are obsessed with taking pictures. It is apparent that social media has become a significant part of their life, it comes so easily to them.
Students may be sitting in class, but because their phone rang, they rushed to see what’s new on social media. While doing this, it distracts them from being able to hear what the instructor is saying. They might just miss out on a very important piece of information.
When students try to listen to their instructor while surfing on the social media, it is called trying to multitask.
John Grafman, chief of Cognitive Neuroscience at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, explained the frequent lack of depth of any tasks being performed while multitasking will make surface-level output satisfactory.
This implies that youth will no longer strive for in-depth focus on a task and will instead conduct activities in a surface level manner (Deitchman).
Some people believe that social media does not cause the three-minute attention span, but they are entitled to their opinion.
According to scientists, the age of smartphones which contains many social media apps has left humans with such a short attention span even a goldfish can hold a thought for longer (Watson).
Researchers surveyed 2,000 participants in Canada and studied the brain activity of 112 others using electroencephalograms (Watson).
The results showed the average human attention span had fallen from 12 seconds in 2000, or around the time the mobile revolution began, to eight seconds (Watson).
Goldfish, meanwhile, are believed to have an attention span of nine seconds (Watson). That is scientific proof of the shortening of minds of young people.
You can also use your own instinct to see that the growth of social media is causing adolescents to be distracted from some of the most important things that are going on in their life.
Social media makes everything appears like fun and excitement in the eyes of most of the young people. Hence, many of them get caught up in all sorts of complications.
Preventing the nagative effects of social media
Putting your life in pictures and videos is not critical to your well-being as an individual. Therefore, do not allow those trending social media apps like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to steal your attention away from what your mind is trying to process and will benefit in your lifetime.
To help reduce the time spent on social media youths should invest their time into social groups where you interact and assist the community for a good cause.
Instead of using most of their spare time on social media the young people should find something to do that will increase their knowledge such as reading and using sites that challenge their brain.
Brech, Jana. Shorter attention span: the impact of technology on our brains. 20 September 2013. Web. 22 April 2016.
Deitchman, Alyssa. Wait, what? On Social Network Use and Attention. April 2016. Web. 20 April 2016.
Millner, Jack. Is technology rotting your brain? Heavy mobile phone and internet use linked to poor attention span. 17 august 2015. Web. 22 April 2016.
Rouse, Maragaret. social media. May 2015. Web. 24 April 2016.
Watson, Leon. Humans have shorter attention span than goldfish, thanks to smartphones . 15 May 2015. Web. 20 April 2016.
This is a very informative post written by one of our young writers on this blog.
I was not aware about the dangers of focussing too much attention on the social media especially the shortened attention span.
I hope that our youths will learn from these negative effects of social media and learn to interact more with each other. Thank you Kiwana and keep up the good work.
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This is a really good post. Lots of helpful information. It makes you stop and think. I forgot what else I was going to say. Only kidding. Nice job!
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Thanks for stopping by. I am pleased that this post has been helpful to you. Our teenagers are glued to the social media and we need to educate them on the proper usage. Who best to do this job than a teenager. God bless you.
I don’t necessarily think it causes a short attention span, but it trains our minds to function in short bursts, if that makes sense.
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I have to say that now in the news the NBA wants to shorten their games due to the attention span of the younger generation. I see why the bible says in the latter days the love of many will wax cold. Instead of communicating eye to eye, they’re texting each other even in the same room. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. There is no emotion in texting or social media, sad to say.
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Consequently, do you realize how fragile the younger generation’s mind has become? Today I was telling my daughter how emotionally weak the young people are. They easily crumble under stress. For the past few months, I have been seeking counseling for quite a few young people including mine. It may just be connected to the social media
So fragile, Beverley, that they are being categorized and labeled in social media and the main steam media as cupcakes and snowflakes, without the ability to cope. Their minds need to be renewed by reading the Word of God since He is our one True Counselor, but that brings us back to the main issue of their attention span being too short to maintain their focus. It’s not too late to turn the hearts of children back to the heart of the Father, but it will be a challenge.