May 23, 2017

The internet may be changing your brain in ways you’ve never imagined

The Internet is an extremely helpful resource for just about everything these days. If you need help with something, chances are the internet has the answers.

We use it for work, for pleasure, and everything in between. Social networking alone has tripled in the past five years!  

People average 245 friends when we actually only know 73.2% of those people, and only actually see 4% of those people. Weird numbers, right? Social networking might seem like a good idea, but in the long run, it’s not really helping you at all.

Google has become your brain

Google alone has become the centre of information. We turn to Google for the answers to all of our wants and needs.  A plethora of information is always at our fingertips, just a click away.

As a group, we visit Google roughly 7.2 billion times per day and make 3 billion queries. In a sense, Google is replacing our brains and our memories.

We would normally store information in our brains for use later because in the past we had limited resources.  Nowadays, we know that that information will always be there for us to access, so we stop remembering important details and rely on the internet to remember for us.  We’re constantly juggling between tabs and tasks, trying to keep up by Googling and searching for answers to all life’s questions.

Heavy Internet usage is taking its toll

All that heavy internet usage is starting to wear on us.  It’s been proven that heavy Internet users at at least 2.5 times more likely to develop depression.  As a group, we spend 35 billion hours on the Internet every month.  Crazy, right?

Being addicted to the internet is a real problem and it actually reduces the amount of white matter in our brains which are responsible for our sensory and memory abilities.  61% of Americans admit to being addicted to the Internet to some degree and 80% of North Americans use the Internet on a regular basis.

How about at work?

Do you find yourself clicking through different windows and programs on a regular basis?  At work, we normally change windows or programs more than once every two minutes!  This multitasking might help us finish tasks quicker, but it’s not helping our health one bit.  The more you multitask the more stressed out you’ll become, which impairs your ability to problem-solve.  Your entire thinking will slow down and your creative ability will start to disappear.

The Internet may seem like a wonderful tool and it most definitely is, but overuse of the Internet can actually cause more harm than you think it can.  Limiting yourself on your Internet usage can actually help the way your brain functions, your memory, and your overall happiness.  So next time you’re thinking of hopping on the Internet, take a minute to slow down and decide if you actually need it or not.

To understand what the Internet is actually doing to our brains, check out this video which explains how it changes how we think and how we work.

If you’re curious we’re we found all the above stats from, check out the research here.

Originally published on The Power of Ideas.

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