I know this because, unfortunately, the addictive nature of web browsing is something that I am well accustomed to. I am ashamed to admit that I have, on countless occasions, stayed up all night browsing useless websites, all the while ignoring that little voice in my head that’s telling me to do something more productive.
It’s safe to say I’m not fighting this battle alone. I have watched helplessly as my own friends and family struggle to tear their eyes away from the enticing web pages of the Internet, and I am not surprised that the cause of the shrinking attention span of teenagers and children is being pinpointed upon this very phenomenon.
It’s a terrifying thought – that the Internet is slowly turning us all into digital goldfish. Studies show that the Internet reduces our attention span to a mere 9 seconds, and as horrifying as this sounds, I don’t find it hard to believe. It is becoming increasingly difficult to work on the same project for a long period of time. At the first obstacle, I give up and work on something else. The way we interact with our computers is changing, too. No longer can we sit still and read an entire online article top to bottom; the idea of watching a video clip that lasts longer than five minutes is simply unfathomable. There’s also evidence that our short attention spans are linked to television, as well as computers.
At this point, you’re probably wondering how we can prevent our brains from becoming mush. The answer is simple—quit spending so much time in front of the computer and TV! Take a walk, do a puzzle, mow the lawn, or read a book. If you can’t seem to concentrate on any of these tasks, do all four at the same time – that should be enough to keep you occupied and entertained. If you have children, encourage them to do activities that don’t require the computer. After all, we’re already lazier than the sloth—it’s just embarrassing to let the goldfish beat us, too.