Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are among the most commonly diagnosed disorders in America for people under the age of 21. But why? Originally, I would have said, “It’s probably skewed because a bunch of kids about to go to college want Adderall so they can study for 4 days straight.” But now that I’m an adult (and I use the term adult very generously) I see that as a modern culture, we are programmed to have ADD. I was one of those college kids that I described above, I made sure to get prescribed Adderall so I could binge study all night to pull off a B for classes I never went to and to sell them to girls who might do sex with me. I read up on the symptoms, went to my doctor and BOOM!!!! Adderall in my hand.
Looking back on it, I don’t think I really needed Adderall nor do I think I ever really had ADD. However, from the time I was 17 until now, I have developed an extremely short attention span that seems to still be shrinking by the day. I attribute this shortened attention span to a very powerful force of nature called… TECHNOLOGY. Without this ‘Technology’ I wouldn’t feel obligated to do 8 things at once, spending no more than an hour on a given task before switching to another immediately after. Our generation has a challenge like no other in history, how do we stay focused on ONE thing when we literally have the world at our fingertips? Below are 4 reasons why we all have a smidge of ADD and why our attention spans have been shortening since we could talk.
Who doesn’t remember Saturday morning cartoons? I sure as hell do! But I don’t remember a word my Mom said to me when she tried to talk to me while I was watching. The TV was probably the first piece of technology that required you to multi-task as a child. Some of us have never stopped using it as a means to distract from tasks at hand. For example: I had a roommate who couldn’t study without the TV and couldn’t even go to sleep without it. He constantly needed that stimulus to get something done. Eventually, the task would get completed, but it always took longer than it should because he would have to constantly divert his attention. If the TV had never been invented, maybe he wouldn’t have had this problem. But then again, we’d all have bigger problems on our hands: No televised football or Honey Boo Boo.
3. Portable Music
Where would we all be without all those years of dope ass beats? Portable music has certainly added to our generation’s development of ADD. Listening to music while we work, while we study, while we workout, while we drive, while we walk, while we drink, while we shower, while we write this article. Most of the time, we believe that music actually puts us in that “Zone” to help get us focused, but really it’s just an audio distraction that takes our minds off of the task at hand. Music is important and I don’t think I could get through a day without it, but now that I have 12,000 songs on my iPhone, it’s hard to listen to any one song in its entirety. The song will start and I’ll be like, “Yeah! This is perfect!” Then halfway through it I’m like, “Oh yeah but that other song is sick too!” *NEXT* and it’s a never-ending cycle of playing the best song at that exact moment, all the time. Before we had access to such a vast selection of music in one place, you listened to the entire CD and you understood that 3 or 4 songs out of 20 were going to be good and life was simple.
It’s so nice not having to see someone, or hearing their god-awful voice in order to talk to them isn’t it? Yes it is! Texting has changed the face of communication, as we know it and in doing so has changed the way we interact with each other at a core level. No longer do we pick up the phone to call someone, we just shoot them a text. Simple, impersonal, quick and it’s way harder for them to tell if we’re lying. Texting has made it possible for us to have 2 conversations in the same room without either of the parties knowing we’re talking to another person. Our emotions could be completely tied to the text conversation but we have to maintain our cool in the real conversation so they think we’re paying attention to them. It happens in class, at work, while we’re driving. Texting can literally be a threat to your life, let alone a distraction and an imposition to the things and people around you. I would bet 80% of the people that are reading this right now have gone entire dinners without talking to anyone at the table because you were busy texting people that weren’t at the table. It’s like we don’t care about the people in our immediate space, only the people who want to connect with us on our mobile devices since it requires less attention; but we also want live humans around us. I can always tell if a date is going well if the girl doesn’t ever have to put down her cell phone.
1. The Internet
You wouldn’t be reading this article if it weren’t for the Internet, so we know that it can have an incredibly positive affect on people. But, we also know that you would probably also be doing something more productive if you weren’t on the internet. This one intangible piece of human innovation has literally changed the way the world operates and is probably the main reason our generation has such bad ADD. When was the last time you checked your Facebook? What about Twitter? What about your emails? Oh no, breaking news! HAHA excellent cat meme! What is that? An article about ADD, cool! Gotta jerk off BRB. It’s a never-ending world of stimulus and we will never be able to take it all in. I want you to think hard now, when was the last time you did anything on your computer or phone without using the internet (assuming you have a Smartphone)? If you think you can pinpoint a time, write it in the comments and I will call you a LIAR. With this constant flow of information, we need to know stuff and we need to know it NOW, this exact minute in time, right NOW and in 10 minutes it’s old news and we’re going to need something else, something newer and better and more interesting and funnier right now, again. The internet can provide all of that 24/7 and we can do 12 things at once online that we can’t do when we’re not looking at a screen. Just having that capability is changing the speed at which we process things and the length of time things are relevant. I remember the good ol’ days when you could have your 15 minutes of fame, now it’s 10 seconds.
Aristotle is a Florida based comedian who thinks that the best joke ever written will never be as funny as a video of a cat falling off a kitchen table. You can follow him on Twitter @sToTle.