In the21st Century, we have seen a huge development in technology. The entertainment and gaming industry coupled with the prevalent use of the Internet – which continues to grow exponentially. With significant differences from society a century ago, how has this affected us as humans? My generation grew up behind a screen in school and our house. How have our brains or perspectives evolved to cope with their environment it’s presented with?
Neuroscientists have been fascinated and have researched the malleability or Neuroplasticity of the human brain. Since the development of scanning technology (MRI, PET & CT) it has been shown exactly how sensitive to influence the brain is. For example, the hippocampus (centre of emotion, memory, and the autonomic nervous system) of the brain was found to be larger than average in black taxi drivers. This is because black taxi drivers are required to remember every single road in London without the aid of a map or satellite navigation. This is advantageous, as the brain adapts and makes connections to support the demands of repeated tasks like the taxi drivers.
According to one estimate, western children spend up to 6 hours behind a screen every day. Children’s brains change a lot more rapidly than a fully-grown adult. Their brains are like sponges and if the effects are not monitored, we would have been unknowingly spoiling the brains of the younger generation.
More Ritalin has been prescribed and given for people that have been ‘diagnosed’ with ADHD. Could this be that the fast-paced visual world of the screen, be giving children shorter attention spans? With the constant divides of attention that phone applications and multiple computer tabs bring, the malleability of the brain will surely adapt to be efficient at tasks that demand less attention.
Previously, sources of entertainment consisted of reading books and going outside whilst engaging with other people. In today’s day and age; we can easily spend most of our time in our houses being entertained. Video games, films etc. have the scenario already created for you, so you don’t have to imagine it – all you do is enjoy the experience. Books, on the other hand, provide a story line where you would empathise with the character. Reading a book takes time and a lot of attention to get immersed in the book, allowing for your imagination to take over.
The use of technology in our society can make our lives significantly easier. Our friends and family can be a phone call away, we can learn about our interests through video’s and web pages. The development of our society can be accelerated a lot quicker as everyone is connected. The internet has helped us so much and allows for so many new opportunities, compared to those in the past. We are able to keep our lives on one device, such as pictures, memo’s, calendar dates, contacts etc.
I think that it’s important for us to be responsible how we use the technology available to us. Taking into consideration the neuroplasticity of the brain, the people that we see on our timelines can easily influence us. Recently I have followed people that inspire me and unfollowed people that live a life I do not adhere by. Altering what I see when I look at my instagram and other social media platforms has personally helped me to remain focused on what I deem is important.
I believe technology can either bring society closer to a utopia or dystopia depending how we use it. We need to learn to control the technologies we have and not let the technology control us.
Thank you for reading.
My opinions are not final and I know nothing compared to the grand scheme of life. So I’m more than happy to start conversations and speak about all of these ideas and hopefully you may teach me something also.
I’ll also post every 5-7 days, so follow me to keep updated 🙂
twitter + snapchat: @borisdjouari13
God bless you.