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OUR ATTENTION SPAN DECLINE

In recent years, there has been a dramatic change in our ability to concentrate and in our approach to
enjoying content. This shift has been fueled by a number of factors, including the entertainment
platforms, with TikTok definitely leading the list. This popular video sharing app has catalyzed a
phenomenon known as “short form content” . However, this new style of consumption has brought
with it profound changes in the way we interact with the digital world and beyond.
The degradation of our attention span is a complex phenomenon that has roots both in the evolution of
technologies and in human psychology. While we were once able to focus on challenging tasks for
long periods of time, we now find it increasingly difficult to maintain attention on a single task for more
than a few minutes. This is largely due to continuous exposure to a wide range of digital stimuli
competing for our attention.

TikTok, with its formula of short videos, has exacerbated this “trend”. The platform uses an intelligent
algorithm that presents users with an endless sequence of short clips, capturing attention with highly
engaging and often viral content. This pattern of rapid consumption has become the norm, with
significant consequences for our ability to maintain attention on longer, more complex content.
A study conducted by Harvard Business Review highlighted that the average attention span of users on
TikTok is less than 30 seconds per video. This means that users are used to quickly scrolling through
content, without giving it the chance to fully develop or be critically evaluated. As a result, there has
been a decline in the ability to focus on more challenging content, such as newspaper articles, essays
or documentaries.


The phenomenon of short-form content on TikTok and similar platforms has also raised concerns
about the superficiality of information and lack of depth. While TikTok videos can be fun and engaging,
they often lack context and critical evaluation of the topics covered. This can lead to a superficial
understanding of complex problems and a reduction in analytical and critical thinking skills among
younger users.


In conclusion, the degradation of our attention span is closely linked to the phenomenon of short
content on TikTok and similar platforms. In an era where attention has become a precious resource, it
is crucial to consider the impact these new forms of entertainment can have on our ability to think
critically and focus on challenging tasks.

Di: Emanuele Smarrazzo 3AIA – A.S. 2023/2024

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