Tag Archives: Attention Span

Cell Phone Whores

I was at a wake not long ago and while the family of the deceased was speaking to visitors at the front of the room, there were three generations of individuals sitting in the back of the room texting. Out in the hallway and on the front porch, there were at least a half a dozen more. So now it appears that we can’t even take an hour out of our, oh so busy lives, to pay our respects to a family who has lost someone dear to them.

Really? It’s come to this?

I’m a product of the Baby Boomer Generation and I’m a fan of technology but I think there are times when the line should be obvious. Wakes and funerals seem to be no brainers but it seems like I was wrong. Wouldn’t be the first time.

I’ve watched couples in restaurants sit across from each other and barely converse because one or the other was on their cell phone for a good portion of the night. I have to tell you, barring some sort of emergency or a need to be in constant touch situation, if I were dating someone who pulled out a phone while we were having dinner, I’d be gone faster than you can spell the words that would be going through my mind. Because if answering a meaningless text or phone call is more important than spending time with the person you’re with,  there would be no reason to prolong the inevitable.

I’ve seen people who’ve spent good money for sporting events and concerts  who have their heads down for a good part of the night. Why bother? You could have stayed home and spent the money to upgrade the cell phone you purchased just last month.

For all the good technology and social media has done, it seems to have dumbed down our ability to focus on the things that should be most important in our lives.

Like relationships. Like respect.

Because technology, for all it’s advantages, is not a relationship.

Whatever happened to living in the moment?  Why must we always be somewhere other than where we are? 

According to The National Center for Biotechnology Information at the U.S. National LIbrary of Medicine, the attention span of a human being is down to 8 seconds. That’s one second less than the attention span of a goldfish. That’s right, a goldfish has a longer attention span than either one of us.
Another study found that the average person, who is awake for approximately 16 hours a day, checks their phone 150 times a day, or every six minutes. We must be very important people.

The thing is, there is no way to quantify the opportunities that have passed us by because our heads were down. We’ve essentially sold our lives to the addiction that’s in our pockets or purses. And you know what? It’s not going to change. We’re incapable as a society to give up the instant gratification our phones provide.

But maybe, just maybe, if we try real hard, we can jump ahead of the goldfish and brag about it to future generations.

Now wouldn’t that be an accomplishment.