The evolution of the Internet and various esteemed digital technologies during the 21st century wholly revolutionized the way we do business, socialize with people, and consume entertainment. Whether you are a college student or professional, digital devices serve as a valuable tool in fulfilling your personal and work-related endeavors. But, have you ever wonder about the impacts of your daily exposure to technology? Without even realizing it, there’s a scientific and a neurological shift happening in the way we process information, communicate, read, and interact with each other. Some of them are good, while others are alarming. Below, we’ve listed down the different ways on how technology vehemently affects your brain system.
Research confirmed that constant exposure to technology does not only change our lives, but also our brains. Dr. Gary Small, director of the University of California’s Memory and Aging Research Center, believes that “the human brain is malleable, always changing in response to the environment.” Digital Natives (the ones who were born in the world of cell phones, laptops, text messaging, and social networking) suffer from neutral circuitry. Thus, they are most likely to experience complex reasoning, heightened multitasking skills, and enhanced decision-making. On the other hand, they’ll also suffer from the “rewired brain syndrome,” which is characterized by diminished skills and lessened emotional aptitude such as empathy; where people can act robotic.
Technology Tells Our Brain to Stay Awake
According to a 2013 data presented by Belfast Telegraph, nine of 10 people are sacrificing their good night’s sleep just to be able to access the internet and stay in touch with the virtual world. It’s because of the “blue light” emitted by our mobile phones and tablets that mimic the daylight effect which suppresses the production of melatonin, a brain chemical which helps us sleep. In order to fight this, Dr Chris Idzikowski of Edinburgh Sleep Center suggests that “sufferers should try and avoid using phones, laptops, and other screen-based devices for at least an hour before bed.” Another method given by Bob Kelley, a correspondent for many different news portals, is to engage in a digital therapy, wherein, you will need to use your mobile device to improve your sleeping patterns and stay well-rested. For example, there are apps that monitors your sleep cycle, and wakes you during the lightest phase of your sleep, ensuring you have a better overall sleeping experience. (source: www.o2.co.uk)
Affecting Our Ability To Read
As you get exposed to digital resources, your ability to read books with lengthy articles are also affected. Too much exposure to virtual media will inhibit our brain’s capacity to appreciate longer sentences, fully constructed arguments, and complex plot/narrative. It also affects our brain’s neutral pathways, which could shorten our attention span. This is due to the fact that as internet users, we’re used to skim on web articles impatiently and switch from different tabs, just to find an interesting online content.
Addictive To Our Brains
In an article from WebMD entitled “The Paradox of Modern Life,” Edward Hallowell, MD reiterated that “the great thing about modern life is you can do so much, [thus], the curse of modern life is you can do so much." Being constantly exposed to electronic devices as well as the internet may lead to technological addiction or what is being coined as “technology overload.” This type of neurological shift can directly interfere with our day-to-day activities which include normal conversations, social events, work, and business. Moreover, this type of obsession with the digital world may lead to severe cases of insomnia, added by Dr. Hallowell.
Losing Our Ability To Contextualize
GPS and other navigational services such as Google Maps may lead to lost sense of place. It’s because they are capable of showing and giving directions, leading to unchallenged brain. If we rely on these types of tools, we are losing our brain’s ability to contextualize or to think and provide information about an underlying situation as it happens.
So, these are the five major effects of excessive technological consumption to our brains. Take note that results may vary from one person to another, as our brain has its own distinct way of processing information. Did you find our post helpful? Can you relate to one of the scenarios we’ve written above? Share with us your interesting experiences and arguments by posting a comment below.
Images courtesy of : Merrill College of Journalism Press Releases and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory - PNNL via flickr licensed under creative commons.