6 Obvious Ways the Internet is Changing Our Brain
Updated on January 17, 2022 | by Austin
Majority of our lives are taken up by the internet – whether we are working, playing, or communicating with others. Even when we get into our cars, we are connected to the internet through our dashboards. It controls a lot of the decisions we make throughout the day. But, as it turns out, there is a scientific reason for this — and not just “well, everyone else is doing it!” type of justification. The fact is that we are as addicted to the net as we are to sleeping and eating. As a result, physical changes are going on in the brain, unlike anything we have experienced before. So here is a list of six ways the internet changes our brains.
1. Cyberbullying is Making People Aggressive
Some people do not know how to handle their emotions appropriately and cannot control their anger. They get angry at each other and indulge in verbal abuse over the internet. Not only does this hurt others, but also it affects them psychologically and emotionally in the long run.
There is a field of cyberpsychology that studies how technology influences our psyche and digital health and delves into the study of cyberbullying. Virtual reality and social media are one focus of this field. For this reason, many people search for a Master’s in cyberpsychology to learn about the best ways to study this developing area of science.
This is one of the reasons why you will see many people, who are already aggressive, being even more aggressive on the internet. There is no face-to-face confrontation, so people feel safer and free to say what they feel. There are ways to handle aggression on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc. You can ignore negative comments or delete them if they are very offensive or humiliating. You can also report them to the administrators or moderators to take the necessary steps to stop such activity on these websites.
2. It has Become a Hotbed of Distraction
Ever since the internet came into existence, it has become a breeding ground for distraction. People are constantly checking their devices for new updates, which keeps them from focusing on what needs to be done. It is making people suffer from cognitive overload and affecting their productivity in a very negative way.
The ideal way to overcome this situation is to make the internet boring, so it does not distract you anymore. You can achieve this by limiting yourself to specific websites and working hours to focus on your work. Of course, the potential of the internet is vast, but you have to make sure that you are using it correctly.
3. Communication is Being Impaired
We are becoming increasingly dependent on social media and our phones. While we seem to be getting more connected, we are losing our ability to communicate with others face to face and build relationships. We have become so used to communicating through text or social media that it seems complicated when we try to communicate in person. This has increased mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. We must learn how to control ourselves when using these devices to remain genuine and honest toward each other. Technology has its place in our lives, but some people need help learning how to use it in moderation. The internet is addicting, and it is difficult for people to stay away, but if everyone can make an effort, then maybe there will be fewer mental health issues caused by social media in the future.
4. It is Nurturing a Dopamine Dependency
The fact that the internet is a drug is not entirely new. Addiction to the internet has been compared to addiction to heroin, cocaine, and gambling in past researches. However, the most common activity is visiting chat rooms or instant messaging. This activity is often done from work, which can lead to loss of productivity and even job loss in some cases. The reason why it is so hard for you to quit is that the brain releases dopamine when users connect with others online. This chemical causes feelings of enjoyment and excitement in the brain’s pleasure centers, similar to how drug addicts feel when they take drugs. The dopamine rush is so powerful that we cannot resist checking our phones every few minutes throughout the day, even if we have nothing important to do at work or in the middle of a meaningful conversation with someone else.
Also Read: How Sleep Deprivation Reduces Productivity
5. It is Shortening the Attention Spans
It seems that the internet is causing us to have shorter attention spans than ever before in human history. Our brains are not quite prepared to handle the amount of information at our fingertips daily. We are constantly being bombarded with various stimuli, and our brains are trying to cope by filtering out everything except what they deem necessary. So we are spending less time thinking deeply about anything at all. We are so used to having the answers right in front of us that we just accept them without question. The way we process information has changed completely, and we no longer spend enough time putting thought into anything anymore.
6. It is Making Us Less Literary
People have less time to read than ever before, and they are reading less and less. As a result, the growth in popularity of the internet is new. Still, there seems to be an inherent feeling of efficiency with using a search engine rather than reading through a book for the same amount of information.
The internet is also making people more impatient when it comes to long-form pieces. People are being conditioned to think that getting information via search engines is efficient and fast, but sitting down and reading an entire article is inefficient and slow. Due to this, people will increasingly turn to shorter forms of literature to get the information they need or want from a book or piece of writing. This will lead to shorter books, both in length and in-depth.
The internet is inarguably changing the way our brains are wired. Human beings can fall prey to instant gratification, peer influence, and unhealthy habits more than ever before. Although much remains to be discovered about how the internet affects our brain, we can safely say that it is changing us and will continue to do so. We must adapt to this new world and avoid falling victim to its pitfalls.