As humanity progresses, technology advances at a breakneck speed. With the advancement of technology comes the overwhelming rise of social media. In more than a decade, the effect of social media has gone from an enjoyable extra to a fully integrated part of everyday life. While social media does bring upon many benefits, studies have shown that the negative effects of social media outweigh the positives. In order to fully understand the scope of how negatively social media has impacted our society, one must take into account how it affects people’s attention spans, digital addiction, and decreased productivity.
To start off, social media positively correlates with the decreased attention span seen in today’s generation. According to research conducted by Microsoft, most individuals can only retain focus for an average of eight seconds. It comes as no surprise since many are used to rapid retention of information through eight-second videos and short tweets. Day by day, the brain becomes accustomed to such behavior and loses the ability to focus for prolonged periods of time.
Additionally, in recent times, social media addiction has grown at an increasingly fast rate. Many platforms have compulsive features that make it hard to log off. The endless scroll and “just one more video” mentality poorly impact our everyday lives. The rush of dopamine people get when using social media makes it hard to use platforms sensibly. Precious minutes of every day are stolen for the sake of mindless and irrelevant scrolling.
Moreover, the rapid decrease in productivity plaguing society today can be credited to social media. The urge to constantly check notifications and messages requires a shift in attention. According to a study in the Book Brain Rules, tasks can take twice as long to complete when being distracted by notifications and the media. The decrease in productivity gives rise to increased anxiety levels and laziness.
In conclusion, one must consider how social media affects people's attention spans, digital addiction, and lower productivity in order to comprehend the magnitude of how negatively social media affects today’s society. This is not to say that we must completely cut off the use of social media as it does have many benefits like spreading news, starting businesses, etc. However, we must raise awareness of this pressing issue and educate ourselves to avoid falling down a rabbit hole.
Written by: Nasser Al-Helal,
Business Development Consultant