A recent article in The Daily Good cited the 54 page study by Microsoft Corporation, which has found that our digital lifestyle is reducing our concentration span.
It’s now 8 seconds …that’s less than a goldfish (9 seconds)!
In effect, technology is now creating generations of ‘ADHD’ like adults who are becoming accustomed to constant stimuli and the need for distraction. For example, 77 percent of people aged 18 to 24 responded “yes” when asked “When nothing is occupying my attention, the first thing I do is reach for my phone”. Out of the 18 to 24 age group, more than half admit to checking their phone every 30 minutes or less and over three-fourths used their portable devices while watching TV. These findings coincide with a 2014 study by the British unit of advertising buyer OMD that found the average person shifts their attention between their smartphone, tablet and laptop 21 times in an hour. (http://www.dailygood.org/more.php?n=6635)
One of the greatest impacts I see of this new mode of functioning is that it flows into our communication style and relationships. It’s no wonder people feel more and more disconnected from each other and from themselves. When we think for a moment that two thirds of how we communicate comes from non-verbals, i.e. eye contact, body language, focused attention, etc., and then imagine a conversation with a loved one while they’re looking at an iDevice. They’re only using their ears, their attention is diverted away to a screen and there is no response at a non-verbal level. It’s a very invalidating exchange and as a result we either become numb to the disconnect or gradually withdraw.
This weeks strategy to improve connection in relationships and improve concentration ability is to:
- turn off the iDevice while having a conversation
- engage with full attention
- share eye contact
- become curious about the other person’s body language and what it’s telling you. People often say one thing while feeling another. You’ll only catch it when you’re looking and listening at the same time.