Are we hooked on technology?

A recent article in New York times “Hooked on Gadgets, and Paying a Mental Price” by  Matt Richtel  explains all the hazards of new technology and its influence on us. Backed up by research it shows how our thinking is becoming “fractured and lack of focus persists”.

This is a serious dilemma in today’s world. Should we use technology amid it’s consequences on our brains? If it does affect our brains, will we be able to cope with enormous amount of information that is passed to us through the web, mobiles, and soon 3D tv’s? Studies show our brains are consuming three times as much information as in 1960’s, yet it is still growing in geometrical progression.  Many questions yet to be asked, but few answers can be found.

On journey to find answers BBC embarked on numerous research projects concerning technology. For example, an astonishing “Virtual revolution” documentary, based on research of how technology has changed our lives in past twenty years. Consider another study by BBC ON/OFF where a few families in South Korea have been disconnected for week from internet and their computers, and how they dealt with it.

Research in Stanford is also looking deeply into this phenomena. Eyal Ophir says, that humans really can process only a single stream of information at a time. “Melina Uncapher, a neurobiologist on the Stanford team, said she and other researchers were unsure whether the muddied multitaskers were simply prone to distraction and would have had trouble focusing in any era.”

Yet, from my point of view this research results have to stand a test of time. We live with technology about last twenty years. What is twenty years in a span of lifetime of humanity? I think we jump too early to conclusions. It is a normal process for humans to tag anything that is not comprehended, or has no rational explanations. What I can extract from this research is that our brains are changing. Brains of our children are completely different from ours and brains of our grandkids will be completely different from our kids’ brains. This is inevitable process. How to bridge the barrier between generations as they distant themselves through technology this should be our real concern.

This brings forward my hypothesis; I think that one of things that any family has to do is develop traditions. Be it religious or sport, but some daily activities that conform bonding in family. I propose yoga, since I have been more or less exposed to it. Other people might have different solutions, but this solutions have to be followed rigorously otherwise we might lose touch with our children.

As a whole technology is not all bad. “Imaging studies show the brains of Internet users become more efficient at finding information. And players of some video games develop better visual acuity.” It is convenient and saves time, but as any other tool it should be used wisely and with a sense of balance.


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