Impact of Social Media on Attention Span of Students

It is clear that social media is making an huge impact on society; it is impossible to ignore.  It impacts everyone, whether they have social media or not.  The impacts intercede into every aspect of life in more than one way.  But the way that the attention span of society has exponentially decreased is relevant to all.  As educators, it is visible that not only are students distracted by social media during class, but when the distraction is removed, attention is extremely difficult to gain and retain.  This is greatly diminishing the effectiveness of a valuable and retainable education.  In the sources below, the detriments that social media is causing to attention span is discussed.  When taking this information into consideration and applying it to the average student, the impacts become clear.

Book (Link to an Overview)

In this book, The Culture of Connectivity: A Critical History of Social Media, a plethora of information is discussed on the impact that social media has on society.  It goes through some of the history of social media and how it has increasingly impacted society.  A topic that is focused on is the decreased attention span for things, such as printed books, due to the lack of attention span required for the mainstream social medias.

It is a credible source, written by a respected author, José Van Dijik, and published by a respected company, Oxford University Press.  It was published fairly recently in 2013.  The reviews of this book prove it valuable, and its purpose is clear and served.  Most of the book is fact based.

Opinion News

This article further discusses the short attention span of society and sheds light on how this occurred.  It also gives some suggestions on how to fight this reality, including things that are encouraged in a classroom, such as reading.

This opinion news article is valuable due to its recent publication in 2016.  Some information is fact based, but it is slightly biased in that it is an opinion news article.  It does, however, discuss information that is relevant to and proven by multiple people.  The New York Times is a credited site and news source.

Website Evidence

This website discusses the impact of decreased attention spans and how it can influence success of ads, media, or websites.  This is helpful when explaining why some sources are so ineffective for use in a classroom, as students so quickly become disinterested.

This source is informational, but an author is not listed, making it difficult to account for the credibility of the author.  It does, however, use several cited sources and studies that are valuable and credible, such as a study done by Microsoft.


This video, from Newsy, compares the attention span of humans to the attention span of a goldfish.  It comes to the conclusion that this low attention span is in part due to our exposure to media.

Many credible studies are shown, including those from Microsoft Canada.  It was fairly recently published in 2015.  This serves its purpose of proving just how low the attention span of humans has become.

Professional Organization Website

The Center for Internet and Technology Addiction is an organization that informs and acts on where addiction to internet and technology is present.  Their website provides information on where this is present and some resources to addressing the problem.  Dr. Greenfield is a respected scholar who is cited in many articles discussing the impact of media on attention span.

This website is very credible, as it is shared commonly, backed up by informed experts on this topic, and is consistently updated.  There is a plethora of additional information and links to other credible sources.