How Does Technology Immersion Shape the Brain?
Do you wonder what all of the screen time we have is really doing to our brains? As edtech continues to rise in prominence throughout the world, this is an important question that researchers are paying attention to. Both parents and teachers should know how technology immersion is fundamentally shaping the way students will think, focus, and behave. It is undeniable that it has some long-term effects that we should consider cautiously.
Technology shortens our attention spans.
Time Magazine famously announced that our attention spans are now shorter than that of a goldfish. They claimed that the change is rooted in the amount of time we spend in front of screens on a daily basis. While it isn’t a particularly flattering comparison, researchers are likely onto something with the theory that our attention spans are shrinking. Microsoft tracked our average attention span from the beginning of the mobile revolution to 2015, proving that our attention span shrank by four seconds.
Too much digital immersion makes social skills disappear.
Experts who are keeping a close eye on the younger generation that is now growing up with technology say it is robbing them of typical social skills. Many of the students they interact with lack the ability to follow normal social cues. They might not even make eye contact while carrying on a conversation. Non-verbal cues are all but lost on this tech-savvy group of kids because of the amount of time they spend on their screens. Technology immersion might have taught them a lot of things, but it is a poor substitute for real human interaction.
Forgetfulness might be a sign of too much screen time.
In one study, researchers compared the brain scans of heavy internet users with those who use it only sporadically. Individuals who spent more time on the internet had double the activity in their prefrontal cortex compared to those who seldom used the internet. This region of the brain is known for short-term memory, but it seems to be flooded with information. When it can never catch a break, it should come as no surprise that we might often forget things. This center can only hold onto so many ideas and thoughts before they slip away.
When you consider this in terms of students, it means that they might not be retaining as much information as educators would hope. Their brains are too stimulated by the digital learning platforms and distractions that surround them. They might learn just enough information to pass the upcoming quiz, but it won’t be able to take root for them to build upon later in life.
Technology immersion can pose a significant problem for the upcoming generation that is being raised with digital learning and excessive amounts of screen time. We must consider what the cost is for reshaping these malleable brains with the abundant amounts of technology. After all, it could have serious long-term consequences that won’t be easy to undo.