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Media’s Effects on the Human Brain

Introduction

This topic involves studying the effects of the continued use of digital media on the human brain. The issue presented is becoming more urgent every year since the usage of digital technologies and social networks has an increasing impact on human life. Almost half of the world’s population uses digital media in everyday life, which can change various functions of the brain and psyche.

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For me, the topic researched is relevant since I belong to the modern generation, which continuously applies technology and the Internet in daily activities. It can be considered that constant distractions that come from digital devices change people’s cognitive abilities for the worse, and people may become more distracted because of them. Moreover, the memory becomes worse more frequently, and people lose their ability to cope with emotions. This study was conducted based on materials received in the classroom and other credible scientific articles and books. In this paper, the fundamental effects of media on the brain will be determined and examined.

Discussion

The phenomenon of multitasking develops more with the increasing presence of digital media in daily life. People are sure that they can perform several tasks at once and become more productive. Nevertheless, when a person solves numerous problems in parallel, their brain quickly switches between different subjects, and people may lose their focus and concentration. An experiment to determine the effectiveness of multitasking was conducted among students who continuously did several tasks (Dretzin, 2010, 08:29 – 10:40). Those students had to determine letters and numbers on the screen while there was a distraction. Despite the participants’ confidence in the efficient result, it was found that when a person is multitasking, different types of assignments are being done much slower than when they perform them one by one. The topic chosen can be considered relevant in a course on digital and social media since it investigates the connection between digital media and people’s minds.

Moreover, many people focus on one thing, then on another, but believe that they are conducting several tasks simultaneously, and true multitasking is a rare ability. When people talk about a person’s productivity, they mean the number of functions that one manages to complete, for example, in an hour or during a working day. Most people are not characterized by multitasking, which means that their productivity is maximum only when solving one specific problem. Multitasking reduces productivity because one has to spend time continually switching between activities. For those who undertake several tasks simultaneously, the time to solve each problem increases, and the quality of work deteriorates.

Furthermore, a frequent change of activity on the Internet impairs the brain’s ability to filter out interference and memorize information. The constant use of ineffective multitasking has a physical effect on the brain since it is always under pressure. Multitaskers acquire such a feature as disorganized memory, which is characterized by a decrease in concentration, a reduction in the quality of mind, and even a worsening of mental abilities (Dretzin, 2010, 08:29 – 10:40). As prevention of memory problems and in general, to improve brain function, it is useful to maintain a healthy lifestyle, alternating physical activity and proper rest, eat balanced, and drink enough clean water since dehydration negatively affects the brain. Furthermore, regular memory training is an excellent solution, and studying can be helpful. For example, it is useful to learn a new language or to master some new skill, read aloud literature about things that one was not previously interested in. Valuable information can be recorded, and at the end of the day, it may be registered in the diary.

In addition to preventive measures, it is essential to stop subjecting one’s brain to multitasking, which is not characteristic of it. Observance of these recommendations will help a person to remain included in digital life and, at the same time, maintain vital cognitive functions. Therefore, the constant use of digital media as a pressure on the brain disrupts many other features and can interfere with a healthy and productive existence. Moreover, a violation of cognitive capacities can cause mistakes in work and study, oppose social interaction, and create various mental severe illnesses. In the additional research based on academic sources, other adverse effects of digital technology on the human brain will be examined.

Additional Research

Firstly, one of the essential consequences of using digital media among adolescents is the development of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This disease is characterized by hyperactivity and the inability to control one’s impulses. Moreover, such people may have problems with concentration that interfere with their study, everyday life, and communication with peers. After two years of exploration, Ra et al. (2018) stated that “there was a statistically significant but modest association between higher frequency of digital media use and subsequent symptoms of ADND” (p. 257). The source represented is relevant since it adheres to the paper’s topic, credible and accurate as it is not older than five years and was published in the academic journal. Moreover, the article can be considered unbiased because the authors do not try to convince one about the supremacy of their ideas but provide accurate data and mathematical research. Therefore, despite the need for further investigation, it can be argued that the development of ADHD is closely related to the overuse of digital media.

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Secondly, digital media’s active use leads to extinction and even the complete elimination of some parts of the memory. For example, Firth et al. (2019) claim that “the Internet ultimately negating or replacing the need for certain human memory systems – particularly for aspects of “semantic memory” (i.e., the memory of facts)” (p. 122). The source represented is relevant since it adheres to the paper’s topic, credible and accurate as it is not older than five years and was published in the academic journal. Moreover, the article can be considered unbiased because authors do not try to convince one about the supremacy of their ideas but provide accurate data and mathematical research. Indeed, with the development of various search engines and databases, the human brain has lost the need to store data that is directly accessible.

Thirdly, the user of the Internet and digital technologies becomes dependent on the opinions of peers. Online groups and their constituents can have a significant impact on human decision-making and self-determination (Crone and Conane, 2018). The source represented is relevant since it adheres to the paper’s topic, credible and accurate as it is not older than five years and was published in the academic journal. Moreover, the article can be considered unbiased because authors do not try to convince one about the supremacy of their ideas but provide accurate data and mathematical research. The person is satisfied with the approval of their peers and thus becomes a victim of peer influence. Furthermore, a person in a digital space is changing their emotional intelligence. Crone and Conane (2018) claim that adolescents may be “regulating emotions through adverse use of media” (p. 7). For example, many users change their behavior and emotional component to gain a particular reputation.

Various sleep disturbances are one of the most dangerous effects of the overuse of technology. According to Le Bourgeois et al. (2017), “more screen time was associated with delayed bedtimes and shorter total sleep time among children and adolescents” (p. S93). The source represented is relevant since it adheres to the paper’s topic, credible and accurate as it is not older than five years and was published in the academic journal. Moreover, the article can be considered unbiased because authors do not try to convince one about the supremacy of their ideas but provide accurate data and mathematical research. Therefore, the use of digital just before bedtime can lead to the development of insomnia and chronic fatigue syndrome due to a lack of sleep.

In today’s world, it’s hard to imagine digital media without social networks. Some people consider social networks not only to obtain the necessary information, communication, and self-realization. They can log in and wander through profiles (web surfing), add friends of acquaintances and strangers, participate in discussions, read the news, watch and upload photos, play games (Prado, 2016). There are discussions where people share their experiences and help to answer an important question. However, there is much communication about anything, monosyllabic comments, and sometimes banal rudeness. Communicating in social networks is much more comfortable since there is a certain facelessness. Another problem with the mind is the dependence on these sites and associations. Unreliable people with a limited circle of communication are predisposed to the emergence of addiction to social networks.

The presented type of habit has many negative consequences that can affect life and even human health. Firstly, a widespread presence in social networks over time causes informational dependence. The continuous receipt of information for the brain becomes a kind of habit that is difficult to break. Secondly, very often, the overuse of social networks causes constant fatigue syndrome and stress (Prado, 2016). Although scientists say that the possibilities of the human brain are almost limitless, it still needs some rest to process and structure the information received.

Thirdly, overly active communication in social networks often leads to the loss of vital communication skills. Regularly communicating on social networks, people very often lose the emotional component of the conversation with friends and relatives. And finally, as a result of all the above consequences, a person receives a general decrease in intelligence. A person loses the ability to concentrate on one thing, find a solution to a significant problem, or seriously think about a task (Prado, 2016). His brain can no longer work efficiently, and he gets used to just getting an endless stream of information without analyzing it at all.

It turns out that much information comes in, but it is not absorbed, and as a result, a person does not know anything. The source represented is relevant since it adheres to the paper’s topic, credible and accurate as it is not older than five years and was published in the academic journal (Prado, C. G. (2016). Social media and your brain: Web-based communication is changing how we think and express ourselves. Denver, CO: ABC-CLIO). Moreover, the article can be considered unbiased because authors do not try to convince one about the supremacy of their ideas but provide accurate data and mathematical research.

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References

Crone, E. A., & Konijn, E. A. (2018). Media use and brain development during adolescence. Nature Communications, 9(1), 1–10.

Dretzin, R. (2010). Online video documentary series “Digital Nation: Life on the virtual frontier.” (Chapter 2: What’s it doing to their brains? (08:29 – 10:40 minutes) [Video file]. Web.

Firth, J., Torous, J., Stubbs, B., Firth, J. A., Steiner, G. Z., Smith, L., … Sarris, J. (2019). The “online brain”: How the Internet may be changing our cognition. World Psychiatry, 18(2), 119–129.

Le Bourgeois, M. K., Hale, L., Chang, A.M., Akacem, L. D., Montgomery-Downs, H. E., & Buxton, O. M. (2017). Digital media and sleep in childhood and adolescence. Pediatrics, 140(2), S92–S96.

Prado, C. G. (2016). Social media and your brain: Web-based communication is changing how we think and express ourselves. Denver, CO: ABC-CLIO. Web.

Ra, C. K., Cho, J., Stone, M. D., De La Cerda, J., Goldenson, N. I., Moroney, E., … Leventhal, A. M. (2018). Association of digital media uses with subsequent symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder among adolescents. JAMA, 320(3), 255–263.

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