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TikTok Scrolling has Shortened the Attention Span of Students: How Can EdTech Help Solve the Crisis?

TikTok Scrolling Attention Span of Students
Published on Aug 11, 2023

Every individual has their way of learning, and there is no “one size fits all” method. However, research has highlighted that visual learning is almost 83% more effective than using text. 

A recent Microsoft study revealed that the attention span of humans is reducing and has dropped to eight seconds. This clearly indicates that the length of the average attention span of an individual is depleting. As a result, many business models are tailored to the needs of their customers.  

This reduction in attention span has seeped into the education industry, as kids and teenagers are now finding it hard to concentrate in classrooms. There is evidence that this is partially linked to the increased use and reliance on technology, primarily due to the use of social media and the internet in general.  

The popular social media app TikTok, while it is one of the most used social media apps amassing one billion users, is equally responsible for the reduced attention span in students. 

Many kids and teenagers got addicted to watching TikTok during the pandemic, and they are now starting to have a tough time readjusting to their school curriculum. When schools reopened, many teachers were surprised to witness that students were having a harder time focusing for longer periods of time. Due to TikTok, kids and teenagers have access to copious amounts of information that is conveyed through 30-second videos. 

does tiktok affect attention span

This has led to their brain losing the ability to focus longer to absorb information, thereby reducing their attention span. A recent study conducted at the University of Denmark has identified that topics would sharply capture widespread attention but lose it just as quickly.  

Due to the proliferation of screen time during the pandemic, the kids of Generation COVID today have a limited attention span. Instructors are blaming platforms like TikTok, which had skyrocketed in popularity during COVID lockdowns and is being used by an estimated 67% of teens. 

Read more: Data Analytics Trends in EdTech Industry 

Online culture today is so deeply embedded into our everyday routines, and it is slowly reducing society’s ability to retain information. Reports claim that adolescents who spend more than three hours online daily are at higher risk of deteriorated mental health. 

Along with reducing attention span, there is a rising incidence of mental health and well-being problems among children. There has been an increase in anxiety, depression, and digital addiction among our youth since the start of the pandemic. Social media has further prompted emotional abuse and toxic relationships in youth. This is further aggravated by the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on families and the pressures created by social media. 

EdTech to the Rescue 

Considering the reduced attention span, it has become more critical than ever to identify new ways of imparting learning to a generation that gets distracted so easily. And the solution to this concern can be found in the right use of technology.  

Let's explore some of the key ways in which educational institutions can use edtech in the classroom to engage with their students and help them focus, thereby enhancing their attention span. 

tiktok attention span

  • Integrating a Blended Learning Approach  

Combining the traditional classroom advanced methods, educational institutions are providing instrumental ensuring better comprehension. Blended learning models offer a combination of different online and offline course delivery. It also includes discussions on online forums and webinars and assignments that can be graded instantly. By incorporating a flipped classroom model, where homework becomes a collaborative exercise in the class and video or podcast lectures that can be viewed at home, institutions are finding new ways to improve learning performance. 

  • Fostering Active Participation of Students 

With the right tools, educational institutions are making learning interactive, such as making students. Digital learning platforms allow easy integration of multimedia, interactive, and gaming elements to make students active participants in this learning journey. 

Read more: 2023 Forecast: How are Emerging Data Analytics Trends Shaping Edtech Globally? 

  • Cultivating a Self-Directed Learning Attitude 

Many times, the pressure to participate in a classroom discussion can worsen the already poor attention span of the student. Therefore, to teach an easily distracted generation, it is important for teachers to administer learning frameworks through different mediums. Digital platforms present rich features that equip students with more than printed textbooks. These platforms will further help in increasing engagement levels, thereby automatically enhancing students' ability to personalize their learning experience. They can access learning whenever they want to and pursue learning in their own style and format.  

tiktok and attention span

  • Apply Learning to Real-Life Scenarios Through Virtual Setting 

With the right digital learning platform and ed tech tools, schools and teachers are providing a risk-free learning environment for students where they can apply concepts they have learned in real-life settings. This enables the students to access simulations. With this learning model, students get to manipulate a simulated world to witness how the concept works. 

Strengthening the Ability to Recall Information with Visual Learning 

The devastating effects of social media platforms on impressionable students, claiming “pupil inattention,” are significantly worsening. Without visuals as an aid to engagement, teachers are finding it hard to teach in the classrooms. They are further witnessing “a long-term impact” of pandemic disruption. as all children above preschool age have access to a tablet computer more than any other device. This further proves the theory that visuals are a critical component of learning. Computer tablets present a terrific way for visual interpretation of information. 

Visual Learning: Pros 

Visual learning offers a range of benefits, equipping kids and teenagers with the ability to retain information.  Some of the vital benefits include:  

  • Visual education is inclusive. 

  • It allows processing time, thereby enhancing the retention rate of information. 

  • It offers an alternative to reading 

  • Visuals learning also allows for neutral engagement 

does tiktok shorten attention span

Visual learning plays a critical role in attempting to retain information. With attention decreasing and an annual increase in online device usage, schools and educational institutions rely on digital and visual formats to help their students learn and retain information. 

Read more: Top Data Analytics Certification Programs to Explore in 2023 

Final Thoughts 

The consequences of a lost decade are narrowing the gap in attainment for disadvantaged children. 

Students are struggling to focus on school activities for more than 10 minutes, teachers have warned. While attention spans have shrunk, fewer primary school children can sit still during assemblies. Many students have lost their ability to sit as part of a large audience and focus on a conversation. Teachers are also complaining about the noticeable rise in needless chatter and shouting in classrooms. 

The ever-swiping nature of social media is negatively affecting pupils' attention span. 

While the education sector took to edtech solutions to instruct the students through a screen during the pandemic, the same situation of taking the screen away from them is now having a massive impact. 

how does tiktok affect attention span

The slow-motion catastrophe of the pandemic is not only affecting children's education but is set to have a continuous impact and far-reaching consequences for an entire generation. It has become crucial for the education sector and parents to remain committed to addressing the attainment gap and assist students to focus on the road ahead. 

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About SG Analytics   

SG Analytics is an industry-leading global insights and analytics company providing data-centric research and contextual analytics services to its clients, including Fortune 500 companies, across BFSI, Technology, Media and entertainment, and Healthcare sectors. Established in 2007, SG Analytics is a Great Place to Work® (GPTW) certified company and has a team of over 1100 employees and has presence across the U.S.A., the U.K., Switzerland, Canada, and India.   

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