I Dare You to Finish Reading This

The deficits of immediate information access.

An Infographic talking about how our attention spends have changed. (Lucy Knerr)

It is clear to see that the current generations of countries such as the United States see the time before the internet as something similar to the dark ages. Everything everywhere revolves around the online world, especially that of social media websites intentionally designed for endless entertainment. 

Quick, efficient, and instantaneous access to “anything and everything all of the time” has surged human discovery and advancement ten fold. However, with this exponential growth in access to information came a need for instantaneous gratification as well as shortened attention spans. 

Studies conducted by organizations such as Microsoft have exposed the disturbing data that the human race (at least, the substantial portion living in America) have an average attention span of 8 seconds which is much shorter than the average 12 seconds that was considered normal only a couple years ago. That is less than the ordinary goldfish, which has an average attention span of 8.25 seconds. 

Though it is annoying when millennial parents blame all of the youngest generation’s problems on technology, it is also partially true. With the introduction of social media platforms such as instagram, snapchat, and tik tok, there has been an exceptional decline in mental health, quality of life and, of course, attention.

Did we get your attention or not? Hopefully by using shorter paragraphs and more quotes we did. (Lucy Knerr_


The most nauseating part about these declines is that social media companies and those that created them knew that this could potentially happen. Social media was designed in such a way to take hold of your attention and maintain it in order to make their profit. 

They use advertisements to “buy and sell” an individual’s attention to make billions of dollars which in turn make more ads to make even more money. The more we distract ourselves with scrolling, the deeper people will fall into the clutches of the never ending, draining and unfulfilling cycle that social media was designed to create. 

With the populous’ attention being stolen from them on a daily basis, the relativity of time (how individuals feel and interpret time) also speeds up an exponential amount. Shortened attention span ends up leading to an unwillingness for patience, which can have disastrous results in the long run for civilization as a whole. Bad decisions usually derive from a lack of processing a problem at hand. When people only look for instant gratification and easy answers, the worse the situation becomes. 

The only way to fully stop this epidemic would be to completely get rid of social media sites and the technology that runs them. However in the current age of ever

changing technology, humanity relies on these sites too much to fully get rid of them at all. Humanity has become reliant on distraction. 

Thus, the only real solution is to take time away from screens, the internet, and social media and take time to experience the many wonders the world offers. Go outside, read a book, go spend time with friends! Community and curiosity of the human mind will save the next generations, if people choose to let them do so.