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How to Combat Technology’s Negative Effects on Our Attention Span

Technology has resulted in overstimulation of the brain, where stimuli overload senses. This makes it hard for us to focus purely on one activity at a time because we are subconsciously thinking about our phone, texts, and social media in the background. Microsoft conducted a study that demonstrated how the human attention span has decreased from 12 seconds to 8 seconds in less than a decade. Even though technology does a lot of harm to our attention span, it will not go away and will only continue to grow. It is unrealistic to live in 2021 without using technology. However, there are many things that we can do to protect ourselves and our minds. Here are some ways to reduce our attachment to technology.

Keep your phone far away from you when you go to sleep

When you are about to go to sleep, don’t leave your phone within arm’s reach. This will prevent you from using your phone when you first wake up, browsing social media and filling your head with unimportant distractions. It’s best to wake up in the morning, set your intentions for the day, and have some time to yourself. You can even use this time to journal, meditate, or pray. If needed, use a physical alarm clock instead of the alarm clock on your phone. 

Turn off notifications on unimportant apps 

A notification on your phone is powerful enough to divert your attention and break your focus on an important task. Turn off notifications for unimportant apps, such as Target or Candy Crush Saga. App developers purposefully allow the app to send frequent notifications, knowing that they will grab your attention.

Download a time tracking app 

Time tracking apps tell you how much time you spend on each app. This will show you how easy it is to waste time on your phone. Knowing how much time you use on each app can encourage you to make plans to reduce the amount of time spent on your phone.

Put your phone away when you are doing essential tasks

When you are doing important tasks, such as starting an assignment or studying, put your phone out of sight. This will reduce the chances of you checking your phone out of impulse.

Be more conscious

Try to get in the habit of asking yourself why you are checking your phone before doing so. Are you going on your phone to do something meaningful, or are you doing it to mindlessly pass the time?

Turn on grayscale on your phone

Grayscale is a color filter on an iPhone that turns the whole screen to black and white. You can do this by going to the settings > accessibility > display and text size > color filter > grayscale. This makes your phone a lot less attractive, and images and pictures are less appealing. Grayscale removes the bright colors that stimulate our minds every time we use our phones. 

Technology is a big part of our lives today, but we don’t have to be attached to our phones. Instead, we should strive to maintain a healthy relationship with our phones by using these tips.

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An Nguyen

U Mass Amherst '23

An Nguyen is studying Finance at UMass Amherst. She is passionate about financial literacy, economic justice (this means creating economic opportunities for all to thrive), and fighting against racism. In her free time she likes to read, workout, write, and watch movies.
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