Is Technology Addiction Changing Your Brain?

Never before in human history have so many people had so much access to so much information, or to one another.

This constant access has brought about a new way of living and communicating.

People push buttons rather than talk. Even the phone call has become less and less ubiquitous. At what point does this convenience slide into technology addiction? Is technology addiction changing your brain?

Smartphones, tablets, PDAs, laptops, music and gaming devices have come to dominate our waking (and even sleeping) lives.

Email, apps and social media are the new face-to-face interaction, but unlike face-to-face, there is an element of bombardment, of distraction and interruption in the digital social sphere. In the physical realm, this kind of constant interruption defies long-embedded social norms. Yet tech users have become so accustomed to the interruptions that, according to some researchers, their brains are being rewired for the distractions.

No Time to Think is a documentary film directed by Brian Huston, which “explores our obsessions and addictions to new emerging technologies and devices.

The film highlights our fascination with social media, gaming, texting, cell phones and Internet use.” In the trailer for the film, Hillarie Cash, PhD., explains that because we are so distracted by our digital technology, the brain is becoming wired to lose its capacity to stay focused for anything longer than brief lengths of time.

When frequent digital users attempt to focus on something, a book, for example, they find after a short time that they are unable to remain focused. They may feel a strong urge to check their devices, to go from one digital medium to the next.

Digital Technology: Not All Good, Not All Bad

As with any tool of human invention, digital technology can be used for good or for ill. A hammer can be used to create a home, or to tear it down. The risk of digital tech is not in the hardware or even the software; it is in the user — the potential of users to destroy others or themselves with the devices of their own invention. This technology is here to stay, and will only continue to evolve in more expansive ways than most of us can imagine. We should think long and hard about how those changes will impact our persons and our species.

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