Ways Technology Makes You Stupid
Technology makes life more complex and simple at the same time.
1. Tech is screwing up your sleep
Studies have shown that blueenriched light, which is emitted by gadgets like smartphones, tablets and laptops, can suppress the bodys release of melatonin at night. Melatonin is a key hormone that helps regulate your internal clock, telling your body when it is nighttime and when to feel sleepy. Blue light can disrupt that process, making it impossible for you to stick to a proper sleep schedule.
Losing sleep has a number of negative effects on your brain. If youre not logging seven or more hours of sleep each night, you might suffer from increasingly bad moods, decreased focus at work and problems with memory, not to mention a loss of actual brain tissue all of which makes you less than a joy to be around.
2. Youre easily distracted
You dont really need science to know this, but technology makes it much easier to get distracted, whether thats stepping away from an important project to check your smartphone or flipping between multiple browser tabs without really focusing on any one. It has been proven that toggling between multiple tasks at once doesnt actually work in fact, you just wind upperforming all your dutieseven worse.Teens in particular are more distracted than ever. A 2012 Pew Research Center survey of more than 2,400 teachers found that most educators feel students are more distracted than previous generations. Some 87 percent of teachers agreed with the statement, todays digital technologies are creating an easily distracted generation with short attention spans, while 64 percent agreed with the idea that todays digital technologies do more to distract students than to help them academically. Yikes.
3. You cant remember much
Technologys tendency to butt into whatever else youre doing makes it more difficult to form new memories. As Nicholas Carr explains in The Shallows, memory comes in two types: transient working memory and longterm memory, which is more permanent. Information needs to pass from working memory into longterm memory in order to be stored. Any break in the processes of working memory like, say, stopping to check your email or send a text message in the middle of reading an article can erase information from your mind before that transfer occurs.
Theres also a limit to how much information your working memory can take in at once. Taking in too much information which happens a lot online is like having water poured into a glass continuously all day long, so whatever was there at the top has to spill out as the new water comes down, productivity expert Tony Schwartz told The Huffington Post last year.
4. so youre relying on the Internet to remember things for you
People used to be able to retain really vast quantities of knowledge like reciting entire novels, word for word but technology has eliminated both the need and the drive to do so. When you know that Google or your smartphone can retain a piece of information for you, youre less likely to store it in memory, studies have shown. Scientific American last year likened the Internet to an external hard drive for our brains, as we outsource an increasing amount of information to the web.
Thats not the worst thing in the world, Scientific American adds. Weve always outsourced some of that information to external hard drives of sorts, relying on friends rather than technology to fill in the gaps in our knowledge. But these day were "outsourcing" way more.
5. And youre much more forgetful than you used to be
Millennials are actually more likely to forget what day it is or where they put their keys than people over the age of 55, according to a 2013 Trending Machine survey. In a press release for the survey, family and occupational therapist Patricia Gutentag called out technology as one of the main culprits: This is a population that has grown up multitasking using technology, often compounded by lack of sleep, all of which results in high levels of forgetfulness, she said.
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