The smartphone generation: Is that short attention span expected?

If you grew up in YouTube generation, can you help it if your attention span is poor?

I was thinking about this recently after making an effort to observe young people who more and more I see walking around with their phones out and earbuds in.

It reminded me to take a look back at my own childhood and teen years to see if I can recall those “new” and “hip” things from our heyday that drove our parents (and adults in general) crazy.

Having brushed up on some retro 80s TV sitcoms recently, I noticed a common target of adults was cable TV.

It’s true; the late 70s (and especially the 80s) saw an onslaught of new viewing options on our color TV sets that kept our generation indoors more than any other (despite our Gen X cries that we played outside MUCH more than today’s generation of children). But compared to our Boomer parents? No way – television was still largely a luxury item. They practically lived outside.

With the advent of arcades in the 70s, the 80s brought us youngins a video game boom that supplemented our time with all those new cable TV channels. (If there was 10 minutes to spare before HE-MAN came on, I could hit the Atari or Nintendo for a quick game of Pac-Man or Super Mario; no need to go outside and “play”!)

To us, it didn’t seem overdone; to our parents and adults in general, it was crisis-level panic!

Today’s children have the Internet, social media, never-ending world-exploring video games they can play with and against strangers online, and unlimited digital entertainment options. If they want to watch TV, they don’t even need to leave their smartphone.

Is it any wonder that traditional entertainment (sports, theme parks, etc.) continue to lose market share and popularity?

But I’ve noticed recently, it’s not just the Millennial and Gen Z generations that are glued to their phones; despite our complaints, we older folk have (slowly) fallen into line, logging more and more smartphone/tablet/computer time than ever before.

Whether it’s social media, dating, browsing, or online gaming (likes casino games), Boomers and Gen Xers are catching up to the youngsters when it comes to wasting time online.

It’s something to think about and, perhaps, learn to moderate…especially if you’re not getting much done lately.

Meet the Author


Hink Media - Television, Web, Video, Audio & Entertainment.