Is the Internet Changing Your Brain?
An international team of researchers from Western Sydney University, Harvard University, Kings College, Oxford University and University of Manchester have found the Internet can produce both acute and sustained alterations in specific areas of cognition, which may reflect changes in the brain, affecting our attentional capacities, memory processes, and social interactions.
The study has been published in World Psychiatry.
Lead author Dr Joseph Firth said: “The key findings of this report are that high levels of Internet use could indeed impact on many functions of the brain.
“For example, the limitless stream of prompts and notifications from the Internet encourages us towards constantly holding a divided attention — which then in turn may decrease our capacity for maintaining concentration on a single task.”
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Dr Firth added “Additionally, the online world now presents us with a uniquely large and constantly-accessible resource for facts and information, which is never more than a few taps and swipes away.
“Given we now have most of the world’s factual information literally at our fingertips, this appears to have the potential to begin changing the ways in which we store, and even value, facts and knowledge in society, and in the brain.”
Co-author Professor Sarris said: “The bombardment of stimuli via the Internet, and the resultant divided attention commonly experienced, presents a range of concerns.
“I believe that this, along with the increasing #Instagramification of society, has the ability to alter both the structure and functioning of the brain, while potentially also altering our social fabric.
“To minimise the potential adverse effects of high-intensity multi-tasking Internet usage, I would suggest mindfulness and focus practice, along with use of ‘Internet hygiene’ techniques (e.g. reducing online multitasking, ritualistic ‘checking’ behaviours, and evening online activity, while engaging in more in-person interactions).”
Check out a Recovering Man meditation below to introduce you into meditation and mindfulness: