SOURCE: THE CONVERSATION
TikTok allows video up to 10 minutes, but surveys show almost half its users are stressed by anything longer than a minute. An Instagram video can be up to 90 seconds, but experts reckon the ideal time to maximise engagement is less than 15 seconds. Twitter doubled the length of tweets in 2017 to 280 characters, but the typical length is more like 33 characters.
It’s easy to get sucked into short and sensational content. But if you’re worried this may be harming your attention span, you should be. There’s solid evidence that so many demands on our attention make us more stressed, and that the endless social comparison makes us feel worse about ourselves.
For better mental health, read a book.
Studies show a range of psychological benefits from book-reading. Reading fiction can increase your capacity for empathy, through the process of seeing the world through a relatable character. Reading has been found to reduce stress as effectively as yoga. It is being prescribed for depression – a treatment known as bibliotherapy.
Book-reading is also a strong marker of curiosity – a quality prized by employers such as Google. Our research shows reading is as strongly associated with curiosity as interest in science, and more strongly than mathematical ability.
And it’s not just that curious minds are more likely to read because of a thirst for knowledge and understanding. That happens too, but our research has specifically been to investigate the role of reading in the development of curious minds.
Our findings come from analysing data from the Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth, which tracks the progress of young Australians from the age of 15 till 25.
Longitudinal surveys provide valuable insights by surveying the same people – in this case a group of about 10,000 young people. Every year for ten years they are asked about their achievements, aspirations, education, employment and life…
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