How we're all falling victim to shorter attention spans thanks to technology. Stock image

Struggling To Pay Attention? Here’s Why It Matters

It’s no secret that it’s becoming increasingly difficult in the modern digital age to maintain attention to even the simplest tasks.

In the second episode of The Briefing’s Attention series, Jan Fran deep dives with Adam Guastella, a professor of neurodevelopment at the University of Sydney, on the mental and social consequences of our ongoing decimation of our attention.

Guastella says our brains are constantly looking for things that are novel and impactful or potentially threatening and anxiety provoking and the creators behind our smartphones have engineered the devices to feed into this.

Our phones have been set up to drag our attention away and to engage.

There’s a growing body of evidence that suggests Tik Tok is shortening our attention span in a particular way. While the research is new and evolving, it suggests that TikTok has captured its audience through an aggressive, personalized algorithym and endless stream of seconds-long videos. Its making it harder for tweens, teens and young adult users to pay attention to slower-moving tasks like reading, studying or even viewing longer videos.

Later in the episode, Jan Fran chats with Maggie Jackson, who is the author of the book Distracted to discuss the long term affects of multitasking.

We have known the short term costs for quite a while. In the moment you’re making more errors. Many more errors and you’re more stressed and you’re more frustrated as you multitask your way through your day. But now the studies show that there are long term effects, and that’s something we just didn’t know ten years ago.

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