According to a 2010 article in the British newspaper the Telegraph, studies have shown that social media has severely affected the attention spans of younger children. Interviews conducted by J Student Reporters suggest that the problem continues and exists in America, too.
In a study of 500 teachers published by a leading school trips provider Junior Choice Adventure in 2010, half of the teachers believed that the fixation on social media is affecting the children’s ability to concentrate in class. Also, two thirds of the teachers said that the quality of children’s homework is poor because the students rush to finish homework so they can use social media.
“Drawing on the basis of my clinical practice working with lots of children and young people, in this day and age it is inevitable that children will want to access and make sense of social networking,” said educational psychologist Karen Cullen in an interview with the Telegraph.
“They enjoy using this tool, but there is a danger that these virtual interactions filter out problematic or emotional issues, which in real life, support social and emotional development,” Cullen continued.
Tristram Hunt, who serves as the Labour Party’s Shadow Education Secretary in the United Kingdom’s Parliament, told the Independent newspaper that he thinks young people need the help be able to concentrate for longer periods of time.
“They need to learn the ability to concentrate for sustained periods – especially in today’s world of short attention spans. I think young people need help with being able to do that,” Hunt said in an interview published on Feb. 9 of this year.
In Los Angeles, student Jamie Chung agrees that social media affects concentration.
“While I’m doing my homework, I feel like I need to check on Facebook and eventually take up most of my time on social media,” said the Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies (LACES) freshman to JSR.
While it may be detrimental, it seems that more and more people are exposed to social media at younger ages.
“Even though I’m only in 7th grade, I have friends all around me, even people younger than me, taking selfies and checking their Twitter and Facebook all the time when we should be doing our homework,” said Connie Lim, a 7th grader at Walter Reed Middle School.