Remember those commercials where they would show you an egg? “This is your brain.” Then they would let the egg fall and it would splatter on the floor in a gross, sloppy mess. “This is your brain on drugs.” OK, don’t do drugs. Got it. But what if it was something that you used every day? The egg falls, splatters. “This is your brain on…internet.” What?!
That was the kind of reaction I had to the infographic below. Sort of like how TV was rotting our brains before, it seems as though the internet is causing our brains to work less and, in the process, ruining our ability to execute Jedi mind tricks. OK, perhaps an exaggeration, but the truth of the matter is that the internet is ruining our brains. It may not be as bad as drugs, causing our brain to splatter in a sloppy, gross mess, but it is a concern. Before you exit this post concerned and worried for your brain, though, let’s break down the information we get from this infographic.
First off, you can see how much more of the population uses the internet in North America than in any other area. Collectively, we spend 35 billion hours on the internet every month. Due to this increase of internet use, we consume three times as much information as we did in the 1960s. You would think this was a great thing, and it is. That’s not exactly where the problem lies. The issue for our brains arises when we start doing everything at once. The graphic states that we change windows or check our email at least more than once every two minutes. On top of that, we are usually listening to music or listening to something while we switch back and forth between windows and programs.
As a result, our brain gets stressed out from trying to do too many things at one time. The image the graphic uses shows our brain while seeing, our brain while hearing and our brain while doing both at the same time consistently. When we try to do both, they both suffer a bit because of it. “Our thinking slows and our creative ability diminishes.”
This was a concern to me at first, but in reality we are constantly doing two things at once even without the internet. So, that didn’t seem like much harm. However, when you go further down the graphic and see where it says that Google is replacing our brain, I had an inkling to toss my computer down the drain. But alas, it wouldn’t fit. Google replacing our brains?! Say it isn’t so, say it isn’t so! As a country, we collectively visit Google 7.2 billion times a day and make queries 3 billion times a day.
Think about it, when you have a question and don’t have the answer, what do you do? “Oh, ya, just do a Google search.” In seconds, Wikipedia can tell you most of what you want to know and even more. Instead of going to books, encyclopedias and other tangible resources, we opt for the internet. What’s interesting is that we know this information will always be there, so we don’t really make an effort to store it in our brains. Before, when we had to refer to books, we likely made an effort to store the information we gathered in our brains because we weren’t going to carry countless books around for reference whenever we needed that information again. In other words, we used our brains. Now, you can take your phone with you anywhere and that small device has access to any information you would find in an encyclopedia. Convenient for us, sad for our brains.
What this infographic is saying is that my memory is basically stored in the crypts of Google searches and Wikipedia information. Scary? I think yes. They don’t make me feel any more warm and tingly when they say that if Google was to suddenly vanish, so would my memory. OK, this is certainly an exaggeration, but it’s partly true. And when you add the part about social networking, it’s just sad, sad, sad.
Don’t let this infographic get you down, though, friends. I use the internet at least eight hours of every day of every week and I still deem myself as an intelligent individual. My brain has not yet fallen into a sloppy mess on the floor. Or…has it? I will, however, think twice before I run to Google search to tell me what the cooking temperature of chicken is or why a pony never grows up. Just saying.