Attention spans declining in the internet age


We live in a world where Wi-Fi or 4G data is available nearly anywhere, with instant access to almost any kind of information. Nearly everyone has some kind of device on his or her person at all times, constantly connected to the online world.

Internet connection has become an essential part of modern culture. Most people can barely even imagine life without easy access to Facebook or Twitter. Modern technology has completely changed the way society operates on a structural level, altering the way we process information.

These changes caused by technology may not be entirely for the best, however. With easy access to nearly anything, many people’s attention spans have begun to wane. People are now focusing more on “quick fixes,” only able to tolerate short bursts of information.

According to studies from the┬áNational Center for Biotechnology Information, the average human attention span was┬ánine seconds in 2012, as opposed to 12 seconds in 2000. It is defined as “the amount of concentrated time on a task without becoming distracted.” While the concept of attention span seems somewhat hard to make into concrete data, it is impossible to deny this downward trend in regard to the increased amount of external stimulation.

With this increase in available data, the public’s desire for in-depth, specific data has diminished in favor of instant gratification. Fewer and fewer people have the patience to read an extensive study or analysis, instead opting for short list-like articles on websites like Gawker or Buzzfeed. Many people tend to ignore information that isn’t clearly bullet-pointed, allowing them to skim through.

The internet has also had a major affect on social life with the “internet generation.” Since it is so easy to connect with people through Social Media, there is less of a need for sustained social interaction in the real world. Everyone is constantly connected from across the world, limiting the need for meaningful face-to-face interaction.

Many people wonder if there is a way to reverse this trend. The only true way to overcome it is through effort and dedication. Spending just a small amount of time every day away from social media, doing something you normally wouldn’t do can have a significant impact on your attention span.

While access to any kind of information imaginable has an incredible number of benefits, it is important to also be aware of the drawbacks. We, as a people, must try to not get caught up in the world of quick fixes and instant gratification.