Since kids were constantly checking and responding to text messages during class, a high school teacher in Brooklyn, New York told VideoAge‘s Water Cooler that at the start of this school year, his principal ordered him to confiscate students’ cell phones during class time. This practice is the standard at many schools.

Some parents protested, noting that it was important that they be able to reach their children at all times. These protests, however, were ignored by the common sense of the educators.

The question now is: How will the new generation manage to enter the workforce when their attention spans have dropped to abysmal levels? According to some published research, the average attention span of 14-18-year-old students in the U.S. is 2.7 minutes.

To attract young viewers, streaming TV services such as Netflix have introduced the “speed” function to increase the pace at which films can be viewed. At normal speed, many films would be too slow for some young people who prefer to view them at 2x the speed.

The irony is that the Social Media entities that contributed to creating this phenomenon are the ones that are now paying the price, as demonstrated by the Chinese app TikTok, which would like to popularize an online retail system to compete with Amazon, but is not having success because its medium is not suitable for traditional sales. Many say that TikTok users just want to have fun so a video of someone dancing or telling a joke would be more appropriate than a traditional sales promotion that requires a longer attention span.

Trying to get students to read a printed piece isn’t even considered an option at the Brooklyn school where the teacher VideoAge‘s Water Cooler spoke with works. He also said that he’s always on the lookout for something in print that might capture their attention for even a few minutes.

On average readers spend 50 minutes reading a magazine and 40 minutes reading a newspaper — these acts are practically unheard of for many of today’s students.

To enter the workforce, a candidate is said to need to have an attention span of at least 20 minutes.

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