asian child student or kid girl stressed thinking and unhappy learning on computer tablet video call or frown bored to study only by smartphone or people learn from home school by english vocabulary

Do I Have Your Attention? Not Quite

In recent years, screen time exposure for both children and adults has increased exponentially, with work, school, and leisure all requiring various forms of media and connectivity.

A recent study by JAMA Pediatrics revealed that adolescents spend about 7.7 hours of screen time per day, a massive jump from the 3.8 hours pre-pandemic estimate.

As our children continue to spend most of their time in front of lit-up screens, one question that begs to be asked is: has our students’ increasing reliance on technology affected their ability to focus?

The Good and the Bad

The availability of gadgets in today’s youth has served many great benefits in education—during the pandemic. Students were able to instantaneously answer online examinations, attend virtual classes, collaborate on group projects in real-time, and engage with a range of media with more flexibility than ever before.

However, it also brought to light numerous impediments, especially with regard to their attention span and ability to focus.

With more hours in the day spent online absorbing short-form instantaneous content, many students struggle with being able to focus on readings for school where the complete message isn’t delivered as fast. This leads to them having difficulty paying attention and ultimately becoming too distracted to prioritize their school work. The increasing dependence on technology also enables easily-distracted students to believe that they can multitask without affecting the quality of their work.

Finding Focus

Without a doubt, technology is here to stay. Rather than eliminating them, the challenge for parents and school officials is to create healthier lifestyles and study habits for children so that they can retain a good attention span and harness technology in ways that could help them engage better in class rather than distract them.

In school, teachers can look into more dynamic ways of using technology for learning. By experimenting with collaborative tools in the classroom and exploring more interactive teaching methods, students will feel more engaged and involved in class discussions.

At home, parents can find more creative ways of managing screen time for the whole family. Whether by introducing outdoor activities or encouraging kids to help with errands, time spent at home without the distraction of screens can be valuable in improving their focus and nurturing the family’s relationship.

As technology continues to evolve and become more integrated into our daily lives, it’s important to establish healthy boundaries and habits for children as early as now. Their ability to focus and retain attention can prove to be valuable skills as they grow.


Hanna, M. (2022, January 25). Having the attention span of a goldfish may no longer be the joke you think it is. StateNews.com

Nagata, J. et al. (2022). Screen Time Use Among US Adolescents During the COVID-19 Pandemic. JAMA Pediatrics

Lang, JM. (2020). Distracted: Why Students Can’t Focus and What You Can Do about it. Hachette UK/Harvard Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning

Sweekruthi, K (2022, February 15). Children, Attention Please. Deccan Herald