Dr Oz: How Technology Hurts Your Attention Span
Our dependence on technology has skyrocketed, but our attention spans are falling, and more adults are being diagnosed with ADHD now than ever before. Many experts are wondering if there’s a connection, which is why Dr Oz sent Max Lugavere to investigate. We spend an average of 7-8 hours a day looking at screens, which totals 112 days a year. So what’s all that screen time doing to your brain? Even Steve Jobs admitted going low-tech at home to limit the screen time he and his family experience.
Dr Daniel Amon hooked Max up to a quantitative EEG machine to monitor his brain waves. First, Dr Amon took a baseline measurement as he sat still, before monitoring his brain waves as Max wrote emails, checked texts, browsed social media, and watched online videos.
Dr Oz: Your Brain & Screen Time
Max then joined Dr Oz and explained that when he was looking at social media, he felt really absorbed by the content he was looking at, but didn’t seem to be stimulated. Dr Oz showed what Max’s brain looked like when he was sitting still, highlighting areas of his brain where he had concentration, awareness, attention, and alertness. He had a lot of activity there, which is good. When he was looking at a Facebook page, a lot of that disappeared and was instead replaced with “nothingness.”
So could all that screen time really be contributing to disorders like ADHD? Dr Oz welcomed Dr Sanam Hafeez, a neuropsychologist, who explained that there’s definitely a link between ADHD and screen time and media. We just don’t know which comes first. She suggested a strict 24-hour lock down in which you don’t have any access whatsoever to a phone, TV, internet, or social media. Max tried it, and was surprised at just how hard it was.
Dr Oz: Improve Your Attention Span
Max’s brain was studied before and after the 24 tech-free hours. They looked at his attention span, reaction time, and problem-solving skills. Dr Hafeez showed that in terms of visual attention, he was in the fifth percentile, but after the 24 hours, he went up to 9th percentile. In terms of reaction time, Max did a test in 40 seconds before his tech-free day, but post lock-down, it went down to 25 seconds. For problem solving, he was in the 63rd percentile before, and then 84th percentile after. Those were obviously huge changes!
Max explained that moving forward, he was going to set specific times throughout the day when he’ll go tech-free. Without giving up your phone, to improve your attention span you can limit yourself to just 10 minute spurts at a time for looking at social media. You should also shut off alerts on your phone, and be sure to use technology for good not evil!