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How the Internet Changes Your Brain

HOW THE INTERNET CHANGES YOUR BRAIN THE INTERNET IS EVERYWHERE TODAY It's inescapable. You work on it. You play on it. But the Internet offers so much more than we can find in the natural world. Nothing else can access and retrieve information as quickly as the Internet, and that's what makes it SUPERNORMAL THE INTERNET IS A SUPERPOWER A supernormal phenomenon gets a stronger response from the brain than anything natural. Supernormal stimuli warp your decision-making process by playing on biological and evolutionary needs. JUNK FOOD plays on your biological need for sugar and fat. THE INTERNET is based around finding and retrieving information instantly. IN OTHER WORDS Much like how your body can't handle too much junk food, your brain is unprepared for even the most basic Internet functions, like searching, blogging, and tweeting. SUPERNORMAL Google Dr. Adrian F. Ward classifies the Internet as supernormal partly because of its effects on TRANSACTIVE MEMORY "The Internet - a supernormal stimulus - seems to outperform all other external storage devices, potentially leading people to offload responsibility for the vast majority of information to this single digital resource." - Ward, 2013 The Internet is also immune to When you exchange information with another person, you're using transactive memory. Today, we often exchange with the Internet instead of our peers. Transactive memory is based on the criteria of expertise and most causes of unavailability, including the most permanent - availability. The Internet easily beats individual person. DEATH. When we use the Internet, we don't use our memories, and we make it fill in the gaps for us. Drs. Betsy Sparrow, Jenny Liu, and Daniel Wegner call this the GOOGLE EFFECT. We let the Internet "remember" information for us because: 1. It's easier than remembering it ourselves, and 2. The Internet already "knows" almost everything. THAT MEANS IF EITHER THE INTERNET OR JUST GOOGLE EVER GOES DOWN, WE NOT ONLY LOSE OUR MAIN TRANSACTIVE MEMORY PARTNER, WE LOSE A TON OF MEMORIES. Still, that's not the biggest change the Internet makes in our brains. To see the more substantial changes, you have to dig deeper and consider the children. The brain significantly changes as you grow. Specifically, your frontal lobe - KIDS the area of the brain responsible for motivation, attention, short-term memory, and planning - changes dramatically from AND THE INTERNET puberty to your mid-twenties, YOUR FRONTAL LOBE ALSO RELEASES DOPAMINE Dopamine makes you feel pleasure. Exploiting it with drugs, alcohol, and other stimuli can lead to addiction, но NH, но In studies of children who experience excessive amounts of screen time (7+ hours per day), kids showed signs of THAT MEANS CRAVINGS AND IMPAIRED DOPAMINE FUNCTION Excessive amount of time in front of a screen can change the PHYSICAL BRAIN Cravings for screen time can be SIMILAR TO DRUG CRAVINGS accompanied by reduced numbers of dopamine transporters and receptors in the brain. Children also show reduced gray matter, compromised white matter, and impaired cognitive functioning when spending too much time in front of screens. STRUCTURE and BEHAVIOR of children and teens. BUT WAIT - THERE'S MORE. NETAHOLICS ANONYMOUS Internet addiction disorder (IAD) is a controversial diagnosis. Dr. Ivan Goldberg first proposed the idea in the 90s as a hoax, but several of his colleagues actually believed they had the disorder. Since then, it's taken on a life of its own. Today, as many as 18.5% OF AMERICANS AND EUROPEANS fit the criteria for IAD. Still, Internet gaming addiction is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) as requiring Internet addiction is more frequently studied in terms of VIDEO GAMES. additional research, but it's already accepted and treated in several Asian countries, Online gaming is unbelievably popular among the world's youth, particularly in Asia. Gaming is so popular that an estimated including South Korea. 24 MILLION children in China fit the criteria for Internet gaming addiction (IGA). Children affected by IGA are at risk for the same impairment as children who spend a lot of time in front of screens, but the effects are magnified. IGA can also affect the development of the insula, the part of the brain that develops EMPATHY. A gaming addictť's brain is STRUCTURALLY DIFFERENT from a non-addicted brain. In fact, it PHYSICALLY SHRINKS. Given that online gaming is now a NATIONAL PASTIME in South Korea, gaming addiction has become a public health concern. Roughly 24% OF DIAGNOSED ADDICTS are hospitalized as MORE PLAYERS spend MORE TIME GAMING to keep up with the best. The potential side effects of this level of screen time and gaming are unknown because THEY'VE NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE. POWER USERS Even for Internet power users who aren't "addicts," there are still possible consequences from too much time online. DEPRESSION Nearly 10% of all teens report symptoms consistent with depression. For youths already in danger of self-harm or suicide, excessive Internet use can People socialize online instead of in MAKE THOSE SYMPTOMS WORSE. person, and it actually isolates them more. It's also possible that excessive Internet use could normalize self-harm In fact, habits like SHOPPING, SOCIAL NETWORKING, and discourage seeking help through these feelings of isolation. CHATTING, LATE-NIGHT USE and even WATCHING VIDEO can amplify the symptoms of depression. According to Dr. Raghavedra Kotikalapudi, the most likely reason these habits exacerbate depression is because: ".students replace real-life interactions with online socializing, leading to increased social isolation and anxiety in their physical environments." - Kotikalapudi, et al, 2012 POOR SCHOOL ATTENTION DIFFICULTIES The changes in children's brains caused by excessive screen time affect them with Children who excessively use the Internet may have a hard time in school. SENSORY OVERLOAD IMPAIRED PROCESSING can make learning difficult. LACK OF RESTORATIVE SLEEP IRRITABILITY can make socializing hard. HYPER- AROUSED NERVOUS SYSTEM DEPRESSION can make school feel isolating. which makes kids While the Internet can provide an escape from those feelings, too much use can ultimately IMPULSIVE, MOODY, and INATTENTIVE. MAKE THEM STRONGER. These symptoms can carry over from personal life into education as well. WHAT'S THE VERDICT? Excessive Internet use has observable side-effects, but it's still controversial whether someone can be "addicted" to the Internet. However, our use as a society has impacted our daily lives and how we operate beyond any natural phenomenon, which truly makes the Internet SUPERNORMAL SOURCES: Adrian F. Ward | Daniel Wegner | University of Washington | National Institute of Mental Health | New Yorker | Psychology Today | Business Insider | Betsy Sparrow | Raghavendra Kotikalapudi | Missouri University of Science and Technology | DSM-V | Newsweek | Academic Earth | PC World | Jenny Liu | Harvard University | New York Times | Scientific American | Adweek WebpageFX

How the Internet Changes Your Brain

shared by WebpageFX on Jul 24
Are YOU addicted to the Internet? Are your kids? This infographic examines the controversial diagnoses of Internet addiction, screen addiction, and video game addiction, along with the overall effe...



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