Our environment plays a major role in how we react to changing scenarios of the world and helps shape our thinking process. Being a generation living in the 21st century (high-five), our lives have had a major impact by the ever-evolving technologies. It is petty impossible to live without cellphones, laptops and other gadgets. You would rarely see a person who says he doesn’t use a phone! Right?
Over the past few decades, technology has completely steered the way we think, the way we work and even the way we socialize. (Instagram anyone? same!).
We now live in an age where our closed ones are still with us even when they are away through the power of social media. To find someone or someplace does not need human interaction at all, all it needs is a shared location and voilà! You are there. But the question here is does the new technology affect our brain as well as it affects our daily lives?
Technology has changed the core of human nature if truth be told. The way we live, we communicate, the way we entertain each other. With a few clicks in the right direction we can get any information we want, we can conduct bank transactions, make plans, complete college assignments and even find love.
Our generation is lucky enough to see the most advance jumps in technologies. This has not only changed the way our brain receives information but also how we perceive the world. You might have even noticed that we seem unable to detach ourselves from cellphones, tablets and social media platforms. Your smartphone is the closest thing you have that is almost never separated from you, even in restrooms.
Recent research concluded that almost every second person in the United States checks his or her phone in a few minutes to an hour. And if that isn’t surprising, another poll suggested that almost 63 percent of people say they won’t part from their phone in any case, even during sleep! What’s not surprising is that 70 percent of these people are just like you and me, i.e. young adults.
Living in the digital age means we have to rely on these devices one way or another. So one should always keep in mind how they are known to alter the brain.
Shorter attention span and more distractions
Okay so here is a fact, attention span of a gold-fish is about 9 seconds. Ours? Well, it used to be 12 seconds well before smartphones and tablets were common. Now it is about 8 seconds. What this means is, we can, on average, concentrate 8 seconds on something before moving on to some other thing.
I get it though, it’s pretty hard to concentrate on one thing with all these distractions going on a daily basis. Every day something new is going viral, some new trend has to be followed or some new technology needs to be acquired. These tech distractions affect our relationships, ability to learn new things and productivity. Because let’s be honest, all these things require proper concentration, won’t you agree?
We think we can multitask better
Most of us brag about who we can do multiple things on a daily basis at the same time. We are actually the generation of multitaskers. We can use our smartphones, watch videos and talk at the same time or so we think. This does sound impressive but research has shown that performing different activities at the same time is not efficient as our brain gets divided into its processing power, so to speak. This makes it actually harder to keep and process information.
Are we addicted to technology?
I will be honest with you, I am guilty of checking my phone once in a while during work to check my twitter feed or Facebook timeline. Sometimes even a few texts. I am sure you can relate to this. There is a certain feeling of gratification after compulsively checking social media or that endless scrolling that does not seems to end.
The reason for all this is simple. Technology stimulates the pleasure centers of our brains which make us always come back for more. App makers make sure to make their products extra addictive so you come back for more.
Face to face interactions are declining
Have you noticed when you go out with friends, all of us spend more than half of the time staring at phones or scrolling through social media instead of real human interaction? It seems like we are a bunch of zombies, but at least we aren’t eating each other’s brains out!
Now is the time when how we are feeling is better conveyed by an emoji than real facial expression. This makes us miss a major part of human communication.
We have started to be forgetful
Many pieces of research show that our younger generation is more forgetful than the old generation. This has been attributed to technology’s effect on our brain. In order to memorize something, we need to take that information, give it proper time and concentration so it can move to our long-term memory area in the brain. Now, however, with shifting concentrations this is becoming more and more difficult.
While technology has a lot of benefits. It has changed the human brain much more than anticipated. The best way to fight this for the better is to keep a balance between technology and what’s in front of us right now. This will go a long way in improving our lives.