On Monday, The New York Times took an in-depth look
at what heavy Internet use does to our brains. It finds that multitasking, such as
juggling phone calls, checking e-mails and surfing the web,
significantly impairs our ability to concentrate. The various forms of
stimulation on the Web change the way we think, and these changes stay with us
even when we're away from the computer:
The stimulation provokes
excitement — a dopamine squirt — that researchers say can be addictive. In
its absence, people feel bored... These urges can inflict nicks and
cuts on creativity and deep thought, interrupting work and family life.
enough, a number of bloggers agreed with the article's thesis. Though
often vigorous defenders of Internet culture and the web's effect on
society in general, they concede that something about themselves has
changed over the years:
- I Guess This Makes Sense, concedes Boonsri Dickinson at Tech
Startups: "Researchers compare the lure of digital stimulation less to
that of drugs and alcohol than to food and sex, which are essential but
counterproductive in excess. So fine, I did get side tracked yesterday
while I was surfing the Internet and was late to a brunch. Maybe
technology is so habitual that we are unaware of how much we depend on
it. I must admit when I didn’t have a smart phone or Internet for 2
weeks, time went by more slowly and I read paperback books."
the Focus Test, urges Lisa Smith at Core 77: "If you're
reading this right now, you're most likely multitasking, and a great
candidate for the
focus test that accompanies their article. Find out how good you
are at ignoring distraction and juggling tasks. I did ok, but I can't
help but feel like my score will deteriorate over time. Stack processing
all the way!
- This Feels So True, nods Adam
Frucci at Gizmodo: "Hell, I can
sort of feel what the article is talking about. A lot of the time I'll
start a task and, when near completion, get distracted by another
window. A solid chunk of time will go by before I realize and remember
that other thing I was supposed to be doing. So here I a..."
- Yikes! squeals Christine Lagorio at Inc.
Magazine: "What's scary: Once you're addicted to the 'dopamine squirt'
of that data stimulation, you can feel bored, or worse distracted,
without it. Research shows that heavy multitaskers not only have trouble
zeroing in on relevant information, but they're also more stressed."
Yourself Off Social Networking Definitely Helps, writes the I4News blog: "The story has some scenes from the life of Kord
Campbell who is used as example of a person hooked on gadgets. You can
compare his life with yours. I am now less 'hooked' as he is, but I was
there. Now I am able to manage my digital life pretty efficiently. What
helps is to not spend your day in social networking sites and in video
games. There are still many technical issues that need to be fixed to
make my online life more effective. Email spam is one of them."
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