As a teacher and a freelance writer, I love my iPad and my computer. But lately I’ve been reading about some alarming effects of the use of all our gadgets. Here are just 5 that have troubled me recently:
* Excessive Internet Use Is Linked To Depression
British psychologists have found evidence of a link between excessive internet use and depression. According to The Guardian, the article on the relationship between excessive internet use and depression, a questionnaire-based study of 1,319 young people and adults, used data compiled from respondents to links placed on UK-based social networking sites.
* Too Much GPS Usage Can Lead To Brain Atrophy
For example, taxi drivers learn to rely on their GPS devices and stop thinking about their internal maps. You may degrade your spatial abilities when not training them, as with someone who learned a musical instrument and stopped playing. And another example: several search and rescue operations had to be mounted in the Sierra Mountains of California last year, when hikers with a GPS didn’t even bother to navigate or use a map, but left it all up to the GPS. Bad idea!
* Social Websites Are Harming Children’s Brains
Social networking websites are causing alarming changes in the brains of young users, an eminent scientist has warned.
Sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Bebo are said to shorten attention spans, encourage instant gratification and make young people more self-centered. The claims from neuroscientist Susan Greenfield will make disturbing reading for the millions whose social lives depend on logging on to their favorite websites each day.
* ‘Educational’ Activities May Actually Slow Learning
The medical journal Pediatrics reports children who watch fast-paced cartoons perform worse when asked to follow rules or delay gratification. Some technology developed to enhance cognitive abilities of infants or adults may slow learning. Ironically, research found that educational or ‘brain boosting’ applications may actually slow learning while ‘mindless’ video games can have sustained benefits.
* Students Are Losing The Ability To Concentrate
The average ninth grader student in my classes receives at least 1,000 text messages per month. (And that’s not during the school day, since I force my students to turn in their cell phones.) A lot of us teachers are seriously concerned that the input of multiple technologies is leading to the inability to stick with any one thought for longer than a few seconds. Creativity and imagination are also lost in this constant use of technology.
Our beautiful new gadgets are not going away but, as I always mention when discussing my book Get Out, the important issue here is balance. I too love my iPad and my computer, but I also need to get away from them sometimes, find myself, go take a walk in nature.
Let’s hear it for a balanced life!
What do you think? What is the place of electronic gadgets in your life?
Photo Credit: Soppy Chen
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may
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