Scroll, Click, Repeat: The Endless Cycle of Social Media’s Impact on Attention

Recent years show the attention span of teens has dropped. It’s gone from watching lengthy YouTube videos to endless scrolling of short TikToks, often paired with unrelated clips. 

Ryan Rodriguez, senior, shares his thoughts on the decrease in attention spans. Not only does he agree, but he also shared an experience he had firsthand viewing the lack of people’s attention spans. 

“Shorter attention spans are definitely a problem in today’s society, just recently I saw a man on the train with two phones one watching subway surfer videos on top while one phone watching a movie. It’s also most people nowadays that can’t be focused on one simple task, for example, if someone is walking they’d stop to go on their phone then continue even if they’re late,” Rodriguez said.

While Rodriguez does agree that social media has negatively affected us, he also shared how it has benefited him. 

“Social media has impacted my ability to stay focused because it’s made my attention span shorter, but in a sense, I also learned ways on how to study and retain knowledge faster than ever. This was a plus for me because I also get to do certain tasks quicker,” said Rodriguez. 

Caption: Social media’s impact on my own attention span, as you can see I split my screen to have a show play while working.

Rodriguez shared that he finds it easier to focus on his work if he can have something else to occupy him, he explained how most times it helped motivate him to work more. He also shared another technique he uses to improve his concentration.

“When I am doing tasks I tend to have some type of background noise because when there is too much silence unfortunately I won’t be able to concentrate. If the background noise is music it’s also more motivating. A strategy I found that also really helps me is going on my phone every half an hour for 15 minutes. Although this may seem very unnecessary I believe it’s impacted me because I also struggle with a short attention span,” said Ryan Rodriguez. 

While being on the same boat as Rodriguez, Aria Kamal, a senior, elaborated on similar techniques that helped her focus while studying different subjects. 

“When I do math or science-related tasks I have to have music in order to concentrate but when I am doing English I need to listen to music in another language. I also try to ignore my phone and try to not use it as much as I can when I need to get things done,” Aria Kamal said. 

Kamal explained how she struggles to concentrate nowadays compared to the past. Kamal also explained her thoughts on issues that can be caused in society by shorter attention spans. 

“Social media had an impact on my ability to stay focused because it has shortened my patience, it’s a lot harder to concentrate now. For example, focusing on Netflix shows is a lot harder than watching like 2 hours worth of TikToks. I think the lack of patience and anger issues have increased which has led to arguments and violence between people,” said Aria Kamal. 


Sara Abdullah

Hi, my name is Sara Abdullah. I am a senior and a part of the Information Technology CTE here at Edison. My main section on the Edison Light is the arts and entertainment section. In my free time, I love to find new movies or shows to see why everyone hypes them up. Also since there’s always something new coming out I feel like this would be an easy section to write about. When it comes to my personal favorite I love to watch sitcoms because I like having a go-to show and my favorite type of movies are rom-coms and older movies. Although I enjoy watching movies, I also love to cook, go on little outings with my brothers, make playlists, and recently I’ve been into coding.