Nowadays, there’s so much digital to digest, don’t you agree? We are constantly bombarded by information because of the connectivity that modern-day devices give us. Is it all good, or a bad state of current affairs?
Scary statistics from Canadian researchers suggest that the average human has an attention span of 8 seconds – one second shorter than the estimated attention span of a goldfish. So, the average human would have stopped reading this story three seconds ago but, interestingly, this story would still have a goldfish’s undivided attention. Unbelievable, right?
With smartphones literally putting a world of information at our fingertips, there’s a lot to keep up with. Lots of distractions that are perfect for the procrastinator. Many of us can struggle to ingest more than a 140-character tweet before getting sidetracked by blips and buzzes from iPhones and iPads and everything in between. But what kind of long-term consequences does this lifestyle have for us and our kids?
The Associated Press reported that 7 per cent of people now forget their own birthday and that an office worker will check their emails 30 times in one hour, on average, driven by the ‘ding’ of a new mail delivery. Another study found that children who watched more than three hours of TV a day were more likely to encounter attention-related problems down the track. And rather than trying to combat these effects, marketing teams and digital inventors are making life easier for our tiny attention spans. Everything is bigger and more eye catching, or more accessible and sensitive to our needs. New apps and games mean kids get to spend more time on devices – even for homework – making it easier for mum and dad to find time to potentially relax via social media and shop or work from their own screens!
But instead of rejecting all forms of technology, there’s argument to embrace technological tools for improving your attention span. Listening to music or even using apps specially designed to increase attention span or track your time are all easy ways to bring back that lost concentration. It’s all about finding the right digital balance.
Words // Anny White