The Arts and Attention Span

One of the complaints of folks like me when we talk to other folks like me (i.e., teachers) is that we feel like we are losing the battle with the current generation when it comes to getting and keeping attention. (“What did you say? I was listening to my iPod and watching a movie and texting a friend…”)

Couple of interesting meditations on this and related issues here:

Short and Tweet

Screen Time

If you were me. . . what is the right response? On the one hand, we celebrate the arts as a distinct mechanism to improve our ability to engage with a problem/idea/text deeply . . . on the other hand, voices say, “Surrender.” (See GIFTS OF THE MUSE in recommending film classes in high school, for instance)

What’s the middle ground here?


About jchall1960

I'm the instructor for FA 200, Introduction to the Arts at the University of Alabama
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4 Responses to The Arts and Attention Span

  1. elgernert says:

    I read the article screen time and i think that for kids under 4 years of age parents shouldnt be giving them their iphones or ipods to let them play with because i think as they get older they will just become more and more attached to them. I think that parents should also limit the time of TV that their kids should watch per day because even ill admit that i spent a lot of my time watching TV instead of doing homework because it is a major distraction. I do think that in this current generation kids are texting and on their computers more in class and not paying attention. I think that in order to help this we need to limit our TV watching and limit our times on the computer per day.

  2. Nure Kassas says:

    I think that this has been an issue with that has plagued our generation as well as younger generations for a long time now. Electronic devices seem to have taken over our lives- most people probably cannot stand to be away from their smartphone, ipad, laptop, or some other device longer than a couple of hours. Everything seems to be happening on the Internet. I think that it is a pretty big problem. I recently read an article that had responses from teenagers about their use of electronic devices, and a lot of them said that instead of paying attention in class at school, they are online on social media sites, making sure people “like” their pictures or statuses, and trying to stay “in the loop.” It ridiculous! While electronic devices have certainly made it easier for us to access a broad range of information on any topic, if not used wisely, they can take over our lives. Is it really necessary, for example, to have the latest ipod or iphone, when you’re saving every penny to pay for schoolbooks or food? It is hard to find a quick-fix solution to this problem, but perhaps parents should simply get more involved in their kids lives. Does an 8 year old really need a cell phone, laptop, and ipad? Parents need to make sure their kids are getting fresh air, socializing with friends face to face, getting involved in their community by joining a sports team or arts club or something- this perhaps may be one of the best solutions. After all, it is not like children always know what is good for them- sometimes they need someone more experienced to point it out.

  3. dakarothinks says:

    The Short and Tweet article made me think of the TED talks actually. The majority of the TED talks are brief (longest one I’ve seen was 20 minutes) and extremely informative. I could see most of those talks being taught in a college class and turning into lectures that last for an hour and a half. The TED talks are straight to the point and brief enough that it is easy to keep your attention focused. I have been to plays and musicals that are hours long and sometimes extremely boring. If there had been multiple little short plays that got right to the point and were entertaining then most people (especially younger generations), including me, would find it more enjoyable.

  4. sbusby2015 says:

    I looked into reading the Screen Time article. I honestly had no idea about alot of the things that could happen to kids just from watching a screen, however I was more shocked at the fact that some parents let their kids play on ipads, iphones, and laptops before they are even two years old. That is ridiculous. Kids should not be allowed to take part in the use of technology until at least age ten. When kids are young they have no idea what they are using and have no use for it. They are KIDS! They should be playing with rattles, and balls, and barbies. Not with computers, cell phones, and ipods/ipads. With technology today you can get ahold of anything and kids should not be able to access all of the things there are out there. I think instead of researching into whether looking at a screen will really harm their child or not, they should look into raising their children like children and not adults.

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