We’ve all heard the stories on how technology has warped our brain. We’ve been told that the internet, and the plethora of information it gives us access to, has made us stupid. And we’ve read how technology has led to a rise in physical and mental health diseases.
But is that all technology does to us? Surely there are some positive effects as well? Fortunately for us, there is a plus side. It’s not all doom and gloom, after all. Technology has greatly improved certain areas of our lives. Here are the most encouraging affects it has had on us:
1. Our Memory: Many believe that cellphones and digital address books are reducing our ability to remember things. But is that really the case? While it is true that we don’t memorize- let alone remember- phone numbers, tasks to do and email ids anymore, it is true that we don’t really need to. Not having to remember trivial things- like the above mentioned- can free up space in our memory for the things we do need to remember. After all, we do manage to recite entire text books by-heart; even though we don’t remember phone numbers, do we not? Furthermore, cognitive scientists doubt whether the use of technology to live a more efficient life really does alter the basic functions of our brain.
2. Social Media: Apparently, social media websites like Facebook and Twitter can cause depression in users. If you see a friend having way more fun than you are, you may become depressed. And then there is the newer phenomenon called ‘FOMO’ – fear of missing out. You don’t want to miss any posts/pictures/tweets for the fear of not being ‘in the know.’ But, on the plus side, does it not make you happy to see your best friend’s funny posts on Facebook, even though he lives in another state? Has it not helped you be more in touch with people and happenings far away from home? Besides, with our busy schedules juggling exams, studying and handling parents’ expectations, do we really have the time to be depressed over something somebody else is doing somewhere?
3. Our Creativity: Access to tips, tricks and advice online has helped us be more creative, says author Clay Shirky. Need help with making great Powerpoint presentations- Google it for top ten tips. Need help increasing your memory power? You’ll find plenty of help. Moreover, Do-It-Yourself tips and articles have made our extra bit of time that much more fun.
4. Decision-Making Skills: Next time your parents yell at you for playing too many video games, let them know that they help you make better decisions in real life. According to research, playing video games can help you be more decisive, and it improves your ability to switch between tasks without losing focus. In other words, you can multi-task better.
See? It’s not all bad at all. Technology has made our lives easier. And yes, new technology is rewiring our brains as we use it more and more. But then, the discovery of fire, the advent of the printing press, mass production of books and so on contributed to rewiring our brain as well.