How Using the Internet and Digital Devices Can Make You Stupid

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With the advent of the internet, studies have shown that people who spend time using the internet are having the neural pathways in their brain altered. BottomLine Personal writer, Nichols Carr, reported that UCLA psychology professor, Gary Small, MD, “showed that spending one hour per day on the Internet for just one week alters our neural pathways. That neural rewiring could have unfortunate consequences.” This article went on to say that, “When we read online, words are not the only information coming at us. There usually are eye-catching advertisements alongside the text and hyperlinks in the text in case we wish to jump to different Web pages on related topics. We might have our e-mail program open and a Facebook feed too, alerting us each time a new message arrives. Even a printed book, when transferred to an electronic device connected to the Internet, turns into something very much like a Web site, with links and other digital enhancements.” These are good points to consider when using the internet for your job search. Dr. Small reported that “These distractions don’t just slow our reading, they also make it less likely that we will understand and retain new knowledge.” What does this mean to the millions of us who access the internet hour by hour and minute by minute? It means that our brains are being conditioned to think in a different pattern. This pattern could cause our ability to maintain our focus and be more creative, to actually shrink. This effect doesn’t just come from the internet that we view on our desktops and our laptops. It also comes from other devices we use, like Smartphones, eReaders, and the dashboards of the cars and trucks that we drive. As the author states, this trend will only pick up speed in the years to come. For those of us who are on the internet a good portion of our day, Carr makes some solid suggestions to minimize the negative effects. “When you wish to give your full attention to online or eReader text, close your e-mail program, your Facebook page and any other competing information feeds on the screen. Also, use software and settings that minimize interruptions. Free, easy-to- use programs such as Instapaper Text and Readability strip away most, though not all, of the distractions from Web sites, leaving mostly straight forward text. You can also use the Safari 5 Web browser, which has a “Reader” button in the address field that works similarly.” One last tip which Carr offers is that when you spend time with other people, especially your friends and family, the best way to stay focused is just turn the device off. So now you have some excellent insights into how to use the Internet and while not letting it abuse you. Tom Borg is president of Tom Borg Consulting, LLC. He is a business consultant, speaker, coach and author. Please see more of his blogs on collegejobbank blog. You can view additional job postings on Nexxt.

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