Since the year 2000, the attention span of an average human being has dropped from 12 seconds, to only a mere eight (Statisticbrain.com, 2014). This dramatic decline is believed to be the side-effect of social medias continuous, rising popularity.
Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Instagram, Pinterest, Tinder, Bebo, Tumblr, Reddit etc, in fact by the time I finish typing this sentence, you would have already lost interest.
“Attention, cognitive science tells us has a limited capacity: working memory creates a bottleneck that lets us hold just so much in our mind at any given moment.” (Goleman, n.d.). When the information flowing through our brains is boring, repetitive or routine, our minds start to wander, and as it does this it attaches it’s attention onto the closest distraction it can find: your handheld or compact social device.
In 2013, an investigation was conducted to determine the effects of laptop use in classrooms. “The results suggested that multitasking on a laptop is a distraction to both users and fellow students and can be detrimental to learning of classroom materials”, says Faria Sana (2013) one of these investigators. Although the use of a laptop computer does aid in providing a smart technological device to learn and depend on, it also allows the user access to online games, videos and social networking platforms.
I mentioned earlier that the more routine something is, the more our mind tends to wander. This rule is particularly true in regards to education, especially when there are more important things that demand your attention, such as your newly appointed boyfriend or the amount of rising likes on your current profile picture.
I am of course a self-confessed multi-tasker, as soon as there’s an advertisement my iPhone is already unlocked and open on the first application I see, I’ve even memorised where each one is so I don’t have to waste time looking at my screen to open it. My laptop has no fewer than eight tabs active at any one time, I switch between the fastest loading videos, refreshing my email, re-blogging on Tumblr and scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed. All of which are done within a matter of seconds of each other. Why? because it is available and accessible.
Mobile phones have become less about keeping in touch and more about angry birds, tinder and the 27 selfies in your camera roll that are all identical, but just didn’t make the cut.
There new apple watch is not even designed to primarily tell time, it’s been infested with smart phone features like remote app access, texting capabilities and gaming.
ON A WATCH.
The reality of the matter is, as we grow so to do our brains and they will continue to do so. We’re always searching for new and exciting ways to challenge ourselves, and distraction or no distraction, I have my eight tabs open and I still managed to complete this task on time.
Goleman, D. n.d, Focus. 1st ed.
Kurtzleben, D 2014, What you need to know about the new Apple Watch, Vox, viewed on 24 September 2014,
Sana, F., Weston, T. and Wiseheart, M 2013, Laptops as Classroom Distraction FAQ, Yorku.ca, viewed on 24 September 2014 <http://www.yorku.ca/ncepeda/laptopFAQ.html>
Statisticbrain.com 2014, Attention Span Statistics | Statistic Brain, viewed on 24 September 2014,