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The Struggle Of ‘Popcorn Brain’ And How To Cope With It

If you ever find yourself struggling to focus on a single task or thought, you may have "popcorn brain." In 2011, the University of Washington researcher David Levy said that too much time in front of digital devices can lead to this. He describes it as the mind being so hooked on electronic multitasking that the slower-paced life offline holds no interest. A person’s attention quickly jumps from thought to thought, like the kernels inside a popcorn bag. In 2023, CNN reported that the human attention span is shrinking. A professor of informatics at the University of California, who studies how digital media affects our lives, told the outlet that in 2004, the average attention on a screen was 2½ minutes. "Some years later, we found attention spans to be about 75 seconds. Now we find people can only pay attention to one screen for an average of 47 seconds," she added. Is social media to blame? There's a study that shows consistent use of phones, computers, and social media platforms has a "profound effect" on our attention spans. Another study reported by Scientific Reports found that the presence of a smartphone reduces cognitive performance. A study by Stanford University determined that switching our attention between social media, smartphones, and tablets, as well as TV and radio, harms our ability to complete simple tasks. How to cope with popcorn brain? There's hope if you have popcorn brain. Some people can easily switch from the constant activity of online life to the slower pace of the real world. Some ways to cope with popcorn brain include keeping a record of your online life, setting time limits for your internet use, picking up a non-digital activity, or getting tested. Most phones have ways to track your screen time. However, it doesn’t give you exact amounts. Think about it. Those phone features only track screen time with phones and not other means of technology you use throughout the day. But it can give you somewhat of an idea of how much screen time you consume. According to the Mayo Clinic Health System, there are many benefits to slimming down screen time such as improvements to your physical and mental health. If you feel like you may have a problem with the amount of time you’re devoting to the internet, or if someone you love is concerned, you can always get tested. The Center for Internet and Technology Addiction offers a virtual Internet addiction test that can help you determine whether it might be time to shut down, log off, or step away. [select-listicle listicle_id="643805" syndication_name="dont-apologize-for-these-10-things-own-your-choices-and-actions" description="yes"]

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