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‘AND RISK LISTENING TO MY OWN THOUGHTS?’: TikToker’s video of her mom doing a task without any distraction sparks debate about Gen Z multitasking

‘It’s dead silence. Just the sound of her writing and the dishwasher. I could never.’

 

Braden Bjella

IRL

A TikToker recently went viral and sparked considerable discussion after posting a video of her mom simply doing a task without any distraction.

However, the virality was not because of the video itself, but because of the conversation that it started, which stemmed largely from the text the TikToker, Madison (@madison_murrah), used to overlay the video.

“My mom is JUST writing up and sending out responses to graduation announcements right now. she’s not watching a little show or listening to a podcast at the same time,” Madison wrote. “It’s dead silence. just the sound of her writing and the dishwasher. i could never.”

“I’d have to be knee deep in an hour long video essay about disneyworld to do this task,” Madison continued. “I asked her what she’s thinking about while she does it and get this – she says she’s thinking about the task at hand. incredible! she doesn’t even have a fun little drink to sip on.”

Madison’s TikTok currently has over 1.6 million views, and a screenshot of her TikTok has gone viral on Twitter, accruing nearly 400,000 likes.

@madison_murrah maybe this is just what mental wellness looks like #adhd #adhdtiktok #momlife ♬ original sound – madison

While it is an oft-observed phenomenon, there is very little research into why exactly Millennials and Gen-Zers tend to enjoy consuming multiple forms of media at once.

According to Business Insider, “A Pew Research Center survey of teens between the ages of 13 and 17 found that about 45% said they use the internet ‘almost constantly.’ Some 44% said they go online several times a day.”

Multitasking plays a big role in this.

“Teens, in this case, are using…a kind of multitasking of time allocation so that that overlap of various services almost results in there being more than 24 hours in a day on a usage basis,” Mike Olson, a senior analyst at investment banking company Piper Jaffray, explained to Business Insider.

Young people also tend to be surprisingly good at multitasking, a Florida Atlantic University study found. Though Scientific American also noted that “‘media multitasking’—or engaging with multiple forms of digital or screen-based media simultaneously, whether they are television, texting or Instagram—may impair attention in young adults, worsening their ability to later recall specific situations or experiences,” citing a study from Nature.

That said, while experts agree FOMO plays some role in constant internet usage, data is unclear as to why young people feel the need to constantly be taking in several streams of content.

Regardless of the reasoning, TikTok commenters say the desire for content is widespread.

“I would sooner bite my arm off before doing any sit down task without some sort of background noise,” one commenter shared.

“AND RISK LISTENING [TO] MY OWN THOUGHTS? No, thanks. I don’t trust my brain like that,” another added.

“I literally play games on my phone while i watch TV,” a third offered.

On Twitter, this revelation seemed to scare users.

“I know this is a joke but the amount of people who cannot stand the thought of being alone with themselves and their thoughts is terrifying,” on Twitter user wrote.

“Not to sound like my parents but I think phones ruined our attention span, because we can instantly access anything we want. I find it really hard to put my phone down while I watch TV,” another shared. “I should work on that.”

Many users on both platforms recommended users take a break from technology, which, according to University of Wisconsin Health psychologist Shilagh Mirgain, has multiple benefits ranging from improved focus to reduced stress.

Madison agreed with this conclusion.

As she wrote in the comments, “I’ve read your comments to my parents, and they think we would all benefit from sitting in silence for a moment.”

We’ve reached out to Madison via Instagram DM.


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