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Feb 18, 2022

Tik Tok Generation

By:Josh Fabian

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Say It In Under 147 Seconds

One of the secrets to parenting has always been planting your child in front of the TV with a movie that lasts for an hour and a half or two hours. The amount of things that can be accomplished in that time is amazing! Whether it was chores around the house, a decent nap or some “mom and dad” time, movies were a parental crutch. But with today’s generation of kids, that time has been stripped away.

There are both positives and negatives that come with this. One could argue kids are synthesizing information much more quickly than ever before. Content producers are being challenged to get what was once a thirty minute message across in 147 seconds. Because of that, kids are being exposed to more content than older generations ever were. Whether that content has any value whatsoever is another question, but the potential exists for it to be a good thing.

On the other hand, the lack of attention spans and need for constant dynamic input is not good. Teachers struggle to keep kids focused. Critical thinking, which has traditionally taken time, is becoming a lost art form. And reading a book? Kids would rather have their nails plucked out with tweezers.

The TikTok Phenomenon

However, it’s unfair to say this TikTok phenomenon is isolated to kids. Adults have also changed the ways we do things. When was the last time you read a newspaper, front to back? How about a long form article in a magazine or a book? We now rely on things like Blinkist to summarize books in thirty minutes or less. News? We can get a lot more news, a lot faster on Twitter. Want to learn a new skill? Places like Khan Academy have mastered teaching new skills in short clips so you can learn differential equations next time you’re in the bathroom.

As content producers ourselves, we keep the word count on these articles on the screen as we type. We know somewhere around 400-500 words is where we lose your attention. So we’re pressed to be clever quickly. Maybe that’s a positive and forces us to get to the point faster.

Whether this changing dynamic with respect to attention spans is good or bad is something only time will tell. Usually, older generations assume the worst of the younger generations, only to be pleasantly surprised. Maybe shorter attention spans will lead to more, quicker decisions. Decision making is a skill and like any other skill the more you do it, the better you get at it. It’s also entirely possible we’ve spent too much time thinking about things that can and should be processed faster. It’s something we could write more about but we just don’t have the patience.

Written by Dylan Ratigan and Josh Fabian


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