Living in a fast-paced world filled with social media, live television broadcasting, fast food, and text messaging—it’s a wonder we can pay any attention to the tasks at hand. I have witnessed many people becoming increasingly less satisfied with staying put. We’re becoming restless and bored, seeking distractions at all times. Where is this behavior coming from and how is it affecting Millennials’ success in school?
With endless opportunities and more free time available thanks to everyday technology such as dishwashers, automobiles, and the Internet, it’s easy to assume that Millenials aren’t very concerned with being focused on one task at a time. In addition to school, work, and family life, Millenials live in a world with constant advertisements claiming that the latest product is “easier,” “faster,” and “better than ever!” And it doesn’t just stop at products: perpetually, websites are being updated, fashion is changing, the markets are moving, and laws are being enacted. It’s easy to see why we may become distracted with a global community at our side charging at full speed.
There’s always something going on and something to be a part of, be it an event on Facebook, the release of the latest movie, or the score of the last Heat game. However, while it is possible to multi-task and be a part of various activities simultaneously, sometimes it is best to slow things down and be more focused on the current obstacle. With the luxury of modern technology on our side, making things more convenient, Millennials often times have their attention scattered in various locations instead and would benefit from slowing down. David Walsh, an educational psychologist featured in USA TODAY, stated that it has become more difficult to maintain a child’s focus nowadays. As children are now accustomed to regularly having some form of stimulation to enjoy themselves, their attention drops without some form of entertainment.
Moreover, our inability to focus has manifested itself in more diagnoses of attention deficit disorder than ever before According to the Center for Disease Control Prevention, there has been a 22% increase of ADHD behavior amongst the youth. And if that isn’t alarming enough, Millennials have become desensitized to advertisements. On one side, not being responsive to things like advertisements is a blessing. On the other hand, a lack of responsiveness may be crippling during instruction in a school or business setting. Upon further inspection, marketing charts have shown that while the responsiveness is low, the delayed recall among Millennials is better.
Yet, is this growing restlessness necessarily a bad thing? Not quite. In fact, according to Sam Fiorella, the CEO of Sensei Marketing, Millennials not only absorb more information, but they also comprehend 20% more information than the baby boomer generation, in a small experiment he conducted. While Millennials seem to have more on their plate than others in the past– it hasn’t gone to waste. Just like our technological counterparts– Millennials process and store information remarkably well.
All in all, we must go back to the original question. Are Millenials attentive? To an extent, yes. Millennials have the capability to do many things at once and still absorb information. As the marketing charts show, we even have better delayed recall. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean they perform tasks more effectively or meticulously. But, at the end of the day, in order to live in a fast paced world, we must adapt to human behaviors and have them work in our favor. As comScore states, “[Millennials have] a high comfort-level with new technologies and cultural diversity, as well as being accustomed to on-demand access to entertainment, continual stimulation and extreme multitasking.” The way that minds work changes over time, and Millennials are able to adapt to new environments with ease.