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Short Attention Spans

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Kerby Andersonnever miss viewpoints

Why do young people have short attention spans? That is a question the editors of the Wall Street Journal asked college students to address. Here are some of the best answers.

One student at the University of British Columbia observed that “we live in a civilization of instant pleasure. Anyone who has used TikTok knows this.” Therefore, students are being raised in a culture of instant pleasure and low attention spans.

Another student at Harvard University said he was shocked at the bland content on television that seemed to be appealing to “the broadest swatch of the population.” But the new media focuses on specialized content for different subsets of its consumers. Thus, viewers “have options now, and they exercise them in a competitive environment.”

And another student at Georgia Institute of Technology believes that YouTube and other forms of social media have rewired the brains of young people before their first day of school. “Math, science, and composition will always be less interesting than online content specifically tailored to these children’s preferences.”

He also warned that, “Social media keeps tweens and teens from experiencing the world in a more meaningful way, and it exposes them to shallow connections in an age with increasing anxiety and depression.”

Another student also points to social media and laments how addicting it can be. She feels, “TikTok is the most detrimental thing to happen to our attention spans. It’s an endless cycle of bright colors and catchy sounds meant to be consumed faster than our brains can process the content.”

These students are repeating what I have been saying in these commentaries for some time. Parents need to pay attention to these warnings from students who have seen the impact of social media on their lives.viewpoints new web version

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