The average attention span is now 8.25 seconds, down from 12 seconds as recently as 2000. That’s a  statistic with profound implications for educators, bloggers, moms and . . . LOOK! A SQUIRREL!!!

Just kidding. But it is very important for moms and dads to help their children become mindful, able to concentrate, and a wise consumer of media in this Information Age. Children are even more vulnerable to media overload than adults are. They need your help.

According to, the Internet has done a number on our ability to focus and pay attention. Sound bites, fragmented dialogue on TV shows, illiterate emails, nonsensical social networking posts — it all adds up to damaging our ability to concentrate and glean depth of meaning from the media we are consuming. According to the Associated Press’ Media Insight Project, nearly 60% of people surveyed said they read news headlines, and nothing else.

No wonder. It’s a like a war out there, with info “shrapnel” coming at us from all sides. The marketing company Yankelovich says that in 1970, the average person was exposed to 500 ads per day. Now that’s more than 5,000.

The exports prescribe making sure you are reading long-form material, such as books and long articles, and using audio wisely to listen to lectures, sermons, how-to’s, and other content that will build your thinking power, not degrade it. Find kid-friendly books and audios and your child will be ahead of the game.

The goods news: for the last two years, according to Nielsen BookScan, the number of printed book purchases has risen, to more than 652 million, with more nonfiction books than fiction books bought.

It could be that the first line of defense against the barrage of media messages attacking your brain is something you don’t usually think of as a weapon. But it is: a book!

By Susan Darst Williams | | Vitamin Mom | © 2017