Today it’s no secret to anyone that the Internetchanged not only our society, but also to some extent each of us. According to a recent study in World Psychiatry, time spent on the Internet reduces the ability to focus on one task at a time. This means that we no longer keep facts in mind. It turns out that not only our life has changed forever due to access to an infinite amount of information, but also the way the brain works. During the study, scientists from the UK, USA and Australia came to a number of surprising conclusions. Thus, the influence of the World Wide Web on the brain is noted in three areas: attention, memory, and social interaction.
According to one of the authors of the studyProfessor Jerome Sarris of Medical News Today, the online world can have far-reaching consequences. However, before delving into a series of changes that have occurred with the advent of the Internet, one should not forget that the Internet is “inevitable, ubiquitous and a very functional aspect of modern life”. The results of the study revealed that people who regularly perform a large and varied number of tasks on the Internet, simultaneously checking the profiles of social networks or updating streaming services, are struggling to focus on one task.
According to researchers, the incentive bombardmentover the Internet and the resulting divided attention is a number of problems. The authors of the work do not exclude the possibility that gradually changing both the structure and functioning of the brain, the Internet is potentially able to change our social structure. So, constant spending time on the Internet from smartphones and laptops means that many of us have developed “test” methods of behavior - when the user regularly looks at his phone, but only for short periods of time. Such an unlimited stream of requests and notifications from the Internet encourages us to constantly divide our attention, which, in turn, can reduce our ability to maintain focus on single tasks.
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The Internet is changing our memory and social interaction
Another aspect considered in the study,is memory and our dependence on the Internet as a source for information. People are less likely to remember information and are more dependent on the Internet, however, researchers have suggested that this can help “release” the intellectual power that can be used for more ambitious endeavors than was possible. Finally, the paper discusses the differences between online and offline social interaction: although thanks to social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, people interact with a large number of users, the number of friends in real life has practically not changed.
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Thus, with the advent of the internet have changedourselves and the way we communicate with other people. In this new world that science fiction has not predicted, one of the most important skills is the ability to verify information and think critically. Perhaps we should also train our memory and remember truly important and valuable information, and not look for it in search engines.