The Internet Is Negatively Affecting Our Thought Process
There was an article in the Atlantic written by Nicholas Carr in the July of 2000 entitled, Is Google Making Us Stupid?” The article was related to the tendency of the people to rely on Google or the internet while performing activities in their daily lives. As such, this article was confirming while at the same time bringing out different reactions in relation to the way technologies are influencing human beings. Paul Howard Jones notes that the well-being of the brain of the human beings as well as the status of their mental health is put at a risk by the continuous use of the modern technologies. According to this writer and a doctor, interactive technologies are affecting the values, behaviors, social skills, mental and physical health of humans (Paul 5).
Conversely, Teena Moody, Gary Small, Susan Bookheimer and Prahha Siddarth asserted through a study that the use of computers by the human beings while acquiring information can enhance cognitive abilities, brain or mental health. Their assertion was based on beliefs that brain functions are influenced by mental experiences that are caused by interactive activities among young, older and middle aged persons (Gary, Teena, Prahha & Susan 117).
Another research was conducted by Shawn Green and Daphne Bavelier on the way the brain is affected by browsing. Human beings are naturally capable of coping with varying scenarios that include new technologies. Nevertheless, most people all over the world seem to blame the latest innovations, opinions, habits as well as technologies on the basis of the assumed negative impact that they have on the society and individuals. The brain of humans can be considered as a plastic that is capable of reshaping itself with ease on the basis of experience. While browsing the internet, the functions of the brain are not similar to the ones that it has when an individual reads a book. Nevertheless, this is not an implication that the brain understands the internet’s ideas, principles and concepts in a different way from those of a magazine, book or even a printed article. Although one cannot deny that reading habits have been changed by technology with most people opting to read online, the aim of this article is to evaluate whether technology which includes computer and internet usage is in any way inhibiting human functions under several factors (Daphne and Shawn 37).
The Rate of Concentration
The concentration rate of an individual who reads a book is not the same as that of a person who is performing the same activity on the Google webpage over the internet. This is due to the fact that while reading a book, a person has the article or page of a book as the only reading material unless if they opt to get another book. Consequently, their concentration as well as the brain functions tends to be immersed fully in the task of reading the book and maintaining the flow of the information throughout.
Nevertheless, when reading a similar material online people are distracted by other web pages that might be available more so if the pages are entertaining than what a person is reading. In addition, it is easy to find information through the internet. The ease of retrieving books using the internet has reduced the ability of the human brain making human beings unable to concentrate on reading books. For this reason, an individual can open a page on the internet to read and open a different page after some minutes. This page can be irrelevant since it is different from the one that they were reading. As such, exciting pages that can be accessed by simply clicking on a page can easily distract concentration (ISQ 2).
Effects of the Internet on Young, Middle-Aged and Older People
Robin Parker, who is a student pursuing Masters degree at Dalhousie University, attempted to evaluate the impacts of the internet and technology on the young people. She did a comparison of the older and the young generation in the contemporary societies. Her discovery was that the older people can easily recall occurrences that took place more than 30 years ago. They did this without struggling. Nevertheless, it was difficult for the young people to re-live childhood memories including Robin. These memories occurred not more than 20 years ago. To retrieve memories, most people in the young generation use home movies or photographs. Although there are people who can consider these differences as having been influenced by the cultural biases, her assertion was that social and medical resources as well as researches have been critical in highlighting these differences (Robin 2).
People were not relying on the applications of mobile phones to recall certain occasions. They depended on the ability of their brains to recall because innovation and technology were not advanced like in the contemporary world. The young generation cannot recall even birthdays of their friends without having a reminder. Even remembering how a person’s own tenth birthday was is impossible without watching a movie or viewing photographs yet the brain should function faster when a person is in his/her young ages. As such, the researcher attributes these variations in the functions of the brain to the contemporary technology. This technology is simpler and faster when it comes to transferring information. The brain attempts to emulate this by evoking functions in order to be speedy. Most human beings do not take an extra minute in comprehending as well as embedding ideas, knowledge, concepts, information or knowledge in the brain because they are certain that they will retrieve it with ease by making simple clicks on Google (Robin 3).
Advantages of Technology
The question by Nicholas Carr whether Google has made humans stupid seems relevant. As such, the advantages that technological advancement has should be evaluated and analyzed in relation to the mental health and brain of human beings both now and in the years to come. Technology is a science that is being used practically. It is growing at a very fast rate and most developments are only recorded via technology. As such, technology has made human lives simpler and it has ensured the performance of urgent practices efficiently more so in the hospitals when X-rays and surgeries are needed. People in different professionals cannot perform almost all duties efficiently and effectively without using technology Trakhtenberg 1). Mobile phones, computers, tablets, i-pads, laptops and voice mails are some of the devices that people are using to facilitate daily activities because they are safe and convenient.
Nevertheless, when this is translated it depicts a society that is incapable of functioning without using these devices because the human society depends on them heavily because they present simplicity, accuracy and high speed in their usage. It is hard to get a doctor in the contemporary society going through different medical journals with an aim of intensifying and expanding medical knowledge. Most of them use tablets and i-pads to read medical journals (Donnel, Brian, Kavita, Cameo, Kandis and Sujan 5).
In the classrooms, technology is used by professors in diversifying lessons and lectures. It has made it possible for teachers, lecturers, instructors and professors to save energy and time because they let their students take photographs of learning materials instead of writing. Consequently, students get more time for concentrating on course materials while the lecturer teaches instead of writing and listening. This results in undivided attention. Additionally, teachers and students can now access different contents of their course from the Google WebPages which include documented books and journal articles. These help in improving performance and teaching skills. Nevertheless, some students have a low concentration rate in classroom more so when a teacher uses data, video or overhead projector. These students chose to use mobile phones to engage in other things such as social networking instead of paying attention to what the teacher is teaching. This confirms that concentration rate has been reduced by technology (Whitney 1).
Security measures have also been improved by technology. Web pages, bank accounts as well as computer programs are used with password securely. This has always ensured privacy as well as protection of sensitive data from malicious individuals. To access some WebPages more so those of networking websites, one must remember his/her password. Nevertheless, a person can forget a password and he/she must be reminded. Technology and innovation makes it possible to change or to acquire the password. The reality that one can forget the password that he/she uses daily indicates that the mental health of human beings is being affected negatively by technology. Social networks that include Facebook and Twitter have options and links for individuals who forget passwords. As such, though technology is a daily live requirement, it has negative impacts on the mental health of humans. People do not pay attention and this makes remembering details more so the ones that are stored in emails, computers, voice messages, external memories, text messages and mobile phones difficult (Whitney 2).
Humans’ daily lives have been improved by technology. Through technological advancement, people can now pass information with ease, process and even transmit it safely and in a simpler manner. Nevertheless, it is impossible to deny the impact of this on human mental health. This is because of the people who are unable to recall past occasions without depending on their technological applications.
People keep forgetting passwords. Individuals are rarely found in the libraries reading books because they now depend on laptops, tablets, internet connectivity and i-pads to access course materials. This might be convenient but it is incomparable to a person who reads a book due to the possibility of distraction. More people no longer read books because they consider them boring. They would rather read Google web pages which have similar information. Reading Google WebPages also makes it possible for individuals to access networking sites when bored or tired.
Technology is a necessity but it is affecting the human brain negatively. Individuals are now avoiding intellectual and complex activities which help in transferring and building human experiences. In the modern society, people depend on computers when it comes to conducting research and storing information. Consequently, people are depending on technology and this has given them short-term memories. Computers have become the storage for humans’ long term memories in form of photographs and videos. As such, technology has made human beings lazy when it comes to performing manual duties as well as transferring experiences to the brains.
Daphne Bavelier and Shawn Green. Browsing and the Brain, Macmillan Publishers, 2011. Print. Retrieved on 16th November 2013 from: http://psych.wisc.edu/csgreen/BrowsingAndTheBrain.pdf
Donnel Nunes, Brian Daly, Kavita Rao, Cameo Borntrager, Kandis Rohner and Sujan Shrestha. Technology and the Adolescent: Pairing Modern Media and Technology with Mental Health Practice, University of Maryland White Paper, 2010. Print. Retrieved on 16th November 2013 from: http://csmh.umaryland.edu/Resources/Briefs/TechPaper.pdf
Gary Small, Teena Moody, Prahha Siddarth and Susan Bookheimer, Your Brain on Google: Patterns of Cerebral Activation during Internet Searching, Geriatric Psychiatry Journal, 2009. Print. Retrieved on 16th November 2013 from: http://www.psychologytoday.com/files/attachments/5230/136.pdf
Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ). Man and Machine: How is Technology Affecting your Brain? Briefings Independent Schools Queensland, 15(8): 1-7, 2011. Print. Retrieved on 16th November 2013 from: http://www.aisq.qld.edu.au/archived/Communications/briefings/SeptemberBriefings_11_A4.pdf
Paul, Howard. The Impact of Digital Technologies on Human Wellbeing: Evidence from the Sciences of Mind and Brain, Nomine-trust Development Research Report, 2011. Print. Retrieved on 16th November 2013 from: http://22.214.171.124/~neuro647/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/NT-SoA-The-impact-of-digital-technologies-on-human-wellbeing.pdf
Robin, Parker. A Different Kind of Memory: Examining the Effect of Technology through the Ages, Dalhousie Journal of Interdisciplinary Management, 4(1): 1-16, 2009. Print. Retrieved on 16th November 2013 from: http://djim.management.dal.ca/issue_pdfs/Vol4/Parker_Different_Kind_of_Memory.pdf
Trakhtenberg Korol. Modern Technology, Advantages and Disadvantages, Sumy State University, 2012. Print. Retrieved on 16th November 2013 from: http://www.ehow.com/list_6329800_advantages-disadvantages-modern-technology.html
Whitney, Bryen. Technology Taints Brain Function: Says Boulder Author, Colorado Media News Group, 2012. Print. Retrieved on 16th November 2013 from: http://www.colorado.edu/atlas/newatlas/news/nicholascarr.pdf