I found this article I wrote about 3 years ago on another blog and I’m glad I found it. It has shown me how aware I have become on how technology is changing our brains.
Before the ramble about how the latest technologies affecting us all, I want to clarify that I’m the biggest tech nerd out. I have laptops, iPads, Smartphone, Smartwatch, media players, just about any other gizmo that I think will improve my life efficiency and enjoyment.
The other day while waiting for my wife to finish from her appointment in the city, I had about 30 minutes to kill. I thought, I’ll set up at local cafe, check my emails, do a bit of work or not (watch some videos and social media). Off I went in search for a location. I was about to plug my ears up, throw on a podcast on and walk through the street on this chilly winter’s afternoon. I left my headphones and sunglasses in the car and thought, oh well, I’ll do without for the small trip.
It’s been awhile since I just walked around the streets of busy city life, no head phones, no smartphone, no sun glasses and just taking it all in. Looking at the rush of people’s lives passing you by and just realizing how disconnected I am and the everyone is with the world around them.
Seeing the world of zombies glued to their phones and not knowing where their next steps lead them. More concentrated on the ‘app’ than the person they are about to walk into. I didn’t realize how connected people are to their phones, their computers and how disconnected most of us are to the external world. I too am a zombie slave to the un-realness of technology and now realize how fucked up and blocked we are from the rest of the world.
I find myself waiting in line at the post office or a shop and instantly require the need to pull out my phone for some entertainment. Everyone else in the line is doing it. Let me block out the world around me like them.
Just today, I was waiting at the local BBQ chicken shop after my order had been placed, and had the urge to check my virtual ‘status’. As I was about to disconnect with the local chicken guy, the community around me, I mindfully said to my internal self ‘STOP’, take a look at the world you’re missing. Look at the environment, take in all the sounds, smells and wonder….yes wonder, ponder, not have an answer for every damn thing.
I’m seriously concerned for my children’s future glued into this virtual world. As much as I love the satisfaction of videos, music, podcasts and social media, I think there is a deeper meaning to everyday life. The education curriculum should include a section on how to disconnect from technology and how to connect with world. Is this overuse of technology going to hinder or improve our younger generations development?
Reminiscing on my childhood, we watched a TV in our free time and as I reached my teens, we had a family computer and used to spend hours on it playing computer games. But, the rest of the time was spent playing in the streets and backyards with friends and neighbors. When I looked at the local suburban streets this school holidays and couldn’t see any kids playing outside all day, riding bikes or just kicking the football around. Are neighborhoods no longer safe? Or are these type of activities no longer fun for youth? Are all the kids stuck on their iPads or glued to the lounge?
For the adults with such busy lives, working long hours, taking care of family, trying to fit in healthy eating, exercise and quality family time, the ‘app’ gives those 5 minute breaks in between the hecticness a feeling of freedom and joy. It’s like a quick hit of endorphins via my Smartphone. But then we find ourselves sucked into this virtual world for hours before bed, and then grab that device as soon as we wake up, like an addict that requires a hit of the good stuff.
(Exhale….) Anyways..I love living in the information age. I can find out just about anything I want instantly by talking to my phone and getting a response. We used to think, talk and dream about how to do things and now it’s all in a video. Is this stopping our personal evolution or brain use?
On the other hand I can learn so many more skills much quicker and cheaper. Even basic DIY videos come in handy as now I can fix something without calling an expert. There is a video for just about every bloody thing.
Some of the skills that are fading are things like map reading, memorizing phone numbers, handwriting, basic survival techniques. How important are these?
Like it or lump it technology is here to stay. I love it and am addicted. I’m using my iPad to write this post. More often I think, I would like to stop and smell the roses, enjoy sitting and watching a sun set take in what Mother Earth has to offer us. There is no app for that. Finding the time to disconnect from the busyness of life and reconnect with the world, if that makes any sense.
Moving forward, I’m going to try a reconnect to the world more often and hope others like me become more mindful of their technology use.
I guess some techniques I use to stay more connected to include:
- Giving Technology a break from time to time
- Have no screen days (no TV, computers, smartphones or tablets)
- Social Media Fastings
That’s the end of my story. I’m glad to see I have follow some of this advice.
Technology changes the way our brains develop in good and bad ways. Only the future will tell with long term results. As more science unfolds, we will know more.
Current science shows how the grey matter in our brains is effected by by how we use technology. The good news is that practices such as meditation can greatly improve this.
There s also the factor of electromagnetic signals not just affecting our brains but also our bodies.
What’s your opinion on technology and the brain? Do you know how an techniques how to manage to much tech time?