“The Technology is Re-Wiring Our Brains”
This week’s readings are, I believe, the first that really got me thinking and worrying on the subject of multitasking and how that is affecting my personal life and/or life style. Before I think I was complacent and ignorant because I just thought I would not be one of “those” who get addicted to Internet-based activities, but this may no longer be true…which is really frightening me!
In Richtel (2010) article, he notes that new research shows that “Computer users at work change windows or check e-mail or other programs nearly 37 times an hour.” I was not surprised at all. Also he states that according to RescueTime “Computer users visit an average of 40 sites a day” and at the time I was reading this line at a computer lab at butler I had 19 different tabs open in a window and had a moment of shock that was delivered to my heart (that I swear stopped beating for like 2.5 seconds -_-).
As my concern grew as I read through the article I could not help myself but try the games that tested how well you switched between tasks. Fortunately, the results showed that I did better than heavy multi-taskers who showed lower efficiency in juggling problems. However, I noticed that I was zoning out frequently (mind you that the game/task was about a minute or two in total) and did not remember if “letter” or “number” was flashed in front of my eyes literally milliseconds ago. It really was a disturbing realization of how easily unfocused I could become.
Another disturbing fact is how people interrupted by e-mail and other computer/mobile alerts had increased stress levels and a lot of people will remain “wired” and “hyper” or “alert” even after tech devices are turned off and your brain is “off.” This week with Lindsey’s survey I expressed to my two neighbor discussants in class that my Google account is part of my life. I chat constantly about life issues with friends, life updates with families, check-ups on homework assignments and deadlines with schools friends, etc. I communicate with almost about everybody through email. I set up meet-ups, meetings, schedules, daily plans, etc. through my e-mail. I expressed to my colleagues that I would not be able to function without my Google account. So it would not be a stretch to say that the majority of my planning and life style depend on this account of mine. But, it seems like the very “identity” of my life, this account I have, could be stressing me out to the point it is hurting me. It is true that I am constantly refreshing my gmail account and talking to people on it. I am a little bored and uncomfortable when there is little to no activity on my gmail account and I have experienced that during extended school breaks.
Though there were certain positive aspects on usage of technology such as (1) playing video games developing visual acuity (that could prevent traffic accidents in the future, still need to be verified), (2) multi-taskers being more sensitive to incoming new information, and (3) the evolutionary development of the constant growing neural circuitry in the brain (though still need to be proven), the seemingly more obvious negative effects really got to me this week.
Ironically after I took the survey below for MTA I was furious with the “bad idea” group. WHY NOT??? EVERY OTHER CITY IN THE WORLD HAS CELL RECEPTION!!!!! See, this type of behavior is scary, to say the least. Where do you stand?