The internet has become that magical thing that knows everything. Don’t know how to spell something? Google it. Damn that actor looks familiar, what else where they in? IMBd here I come. Shit, whens her birthday? Quick Facebook stalk to the rescue. As handy as it may be I feel as though we rely on it far to much and I worry that this is dumbing us down and why can we not seem to take in and store this information at first glance?
As Nicholas Carr the writer of The Shadows points out in the video below, the internet is great because it is a multi media system which is ultimately giving us endless amounts of information and entertainment. However it is also constantly bombarding us with distraction making it hard for us to take in information and actually store it. Contrary to popular belief our brains don’t stop adapting to the world when we become adults – they are always trying to adapt to what we use them for therefore if we constantly using technology that is what they will adapt to. To explain it in basic terms; The ways we think in a lot get strengthened while the ways we don’t get weaker. An example of this being, when we read a book we have trained ourselves to take in every word, to concentrate and create an image in our heads. This also transfers over to when we read most hard copies of information like a newspaper or a letter. Now when we are on the internet we have allowed ourselves to be constantly distracted by having multiple tabs open, to be doing homework while talking to a friend this has taught our brain that when we are on the internet we need to be taking in everything, every add every message ever colour and ever picture. So for our brain that is taking in all this information we don’t give it a second to stop and to deeply think about the information we have just read which stops us from forming the information into a memory and storing it away for later like you often do with books. The reporter in the clip explains this perfectly; when he was first being taught how to be a news reporter he was told never to interview someone in front of a sign because it distracts the audience because they are constantly trying to read it. Which is like us trying to take in information from the internet there is so many things going on around us we just want to take it all in.
We have learnt to take in so many things at once that we aren’t actually letting anything sink in and become permanent. Recent studies have shown that people who do a lot of multi-tasking find it hard to distinguish important information rather than trivia because they are so use to switching between information that the new information becomes most important. Multi-tasking isn’t necessarily a bad thing but something we need to prioritise, when we shift our attention we are losing bits of information along the way. Rather than overloading on information we need to stop for a moment and let it sink in, think about it deeply. Studies have shown when receiving new information we set off a small amount of dopamine in our brain which although it is a pleasure producing chemical it is also associated with addictive behavior which can explain why so many of us feel the need to be on our phones and on the internet constantly.
I feel as though we need to all take a big step from technology and let our brains reprogram themselves, let them run wild again and think deeply and actually concentrate on one thing at a time. I worry that this is going to cause ADHD to blossom and rise if we don’t start to nip it in the bud soon.