Almost all people use technology in their everyday lives, whether it be managing finances or simply communicating with friends via social networking or using their cell phones. In recent years there has been a technological revolution. People are in contact 24/7 and instantaneously informed through the use of a plethora of technology. News media and communication offered through this technology connects the corners of the globe. As a result, society has been given the challenge of keeping up with all of these new mediums. This has encouraged multitasking in order to manage the abundance of information. Technology may have made us better multi-taskers, but while society’s ability to do multiple things at once grows, their ability to focus on one thing, and do that thing well, has been hindered.
With a usual focus on multiple tasks, rather than one at a time, a person loses the ability to focus on one activity as easily, because their frontal lobe immediately seeks out other tasks to compute. The development of multitasking through excessive technology use can have both positive and negative effects. By excessively using technology, a person develops certain parts of their brain while others regress. Due to the correlation between excessive or ill use of technology and brain function, people should limit the use of technology in order to preserve the proper functioning of the brain, and explore the many ways technology can help them, rather than hurt them.
The habitual use of technology can stem from an addiction, with most if not all of society addicted to some degree. Many people that are addicted to any type of drug do not necessarily crave the physical drug, but the feeling that manifests itself as a result of use. This feeling is created by a chemical released in the brain called Dopamine. Dopamine is usually released when you do something good or you become happy. Drug use tampers with this production of Dopamine, modifying when it is released, causing a person to feel happy, sometimes called “high”, as a result of the use of the drug. Drugs are not the only things that affect Dopamine production. This can be induced by anything that a person enjoys to do such as playing a sport or a doing a hobby. These activities, however, do not have negative effects on neural development. The modification Dopamine is only a problem when compounded with the negative effects of something such as drugs, is where the real problem arises.
So what are the effects? There are many effects on the brain of excessively using technology. Some of these effects are positive in the sense that they can help to get through certain tasks with more ease, such as being able to do homework, while discussing an important issue with a friend. While this can be convenient, the detrimental effects are more significant. One negative effect, particularly on the student, is that teachers have stated that they feel that some of their student base is unable to receive their teaching methods as well as previous years, causing students not to understand the subject. Many would jump straight to blaming the teacher for not effectively communicating the material; however, it may not entirely be the teachers fault. The problem stems from the fact that all students use technology, and those that do not, are not entirely part of the civilization that has been erected today. Students spend the majority of their time on these devices. On top of school, activities, and family commitments, how do students balance all of it? Their brains have adapted, but regressed. Technology becomes a distraction in their lives when it goes unchecked.
Students’ attention spans regress because of the constant switching of tasks while doing homework, or even during lectures. Children might have the power to get all of their work done, but it may not be done as well as if they had focused on each individual task. If a child does not focus on their work, how can it be possible to learn the information? The lack of focus is not the fault of teachers, but they may be able by modify their teaching methods to adapt to the changing world. The reason a child is unable to retain the information put forth by their teachers, is that they are so used to interacting with their environment because of technology. By integrating interactive teaching methods into lesson plans, teachers may be better able to reach out to their students.
The brain is the control center of the body, so why would a person not want to have the best brain and then in turn be the most productive person that they can be? Excess technology use does develop a few strengths in the brain such as multitasking, but allows others to erode such as the focus that is required to effectively complete everyday activities. Technology addiction is an epidemic that impacts society as a whole. Although technology improves some parts of our brain, it also allows us to think less. At the rate that technology is improving, it can be assumed that eventually it will become fully integrated into every part of our lives. Many people say that this is good; making our lives easier, but it is actually harming our neural development and evolution as a species. Future posterity will become reliant on these new devices to do everything. From everyday chores such as mowing the lawn or taking out the trash to tasks such as homework, technology will be a kickstand of reliance. By becoming dependent, the brain suffers and the technology becomes a part of them. Without it they will become nothing. Even as more options for treatment are developed, the best thing for anyone to do is to limit technology from their lives, not entirely, but to the point where it is no longer excessive.