By: Bramhacharimayum Sadananda Sharma
Earlier when we discuss about Social media and Internet, it focus generally on the fundamental aspects of its usages in a society. However, the impact of the internet across various areas in a modern society is quite clear. The connection, information, communication, and screen time which lies on our brains and cognitive functioning are unclear. It is not easy as it seems considering the rapid changes, where defamation charges and law suits are being charged based on the Social media posts, which undoubtedly indicates the seriousness of Social media in present days. One thing is clear that it is not the earlier Social media and Internet that people used for fun and entertainment. Social media and Internet medium is changing!
Present Social media plays an important role in shaping and changing a society from political aspects to social aspects. Many Social media feud happens in various platforms in each passing minutes. However, the influence that it may have on our brain structure and functioning remains a central topic of investigation. In a recent study many researchers and scholars, focuses on psychological, psychiatric and Neuro-imaging findings to examine several key hypotheses on how the Internet and Social media may be changing our cognition slowly.
In a very unique way online world can be very influencing starting from our Attentional Capacities as a result of constant influx of online information, prompts and notifications seeking one’s attention and encourage individuals to displace their concentration across multiple incoming media streams and the consequences may affects our attentional capacities, Memory and Knowledge we rely mostly on the Internet as our primary informational resource, and how exceptional contents of online information access may affect how we process new memories and value our internal knowledge, and Social Cognition as the online medium has slowly started to create and mapped a real virtual world, social processes which in turns creates a new relationship between the internet and our social lives including our self-concepts and self esteem.
Analyzing the evidence and available sources many researchers indicates that the Internet can produce acute alterations in each of these areas of Cognition resulting in direct reflections and changes in our brain and one’s behaviors. However, an emerging priority for future research and analysis is to determine the effects of extensive online media usage on cognitive development in youths.
It is mentioned in some research papers that our brain is somewhat impressionable to our environmental demands and adapts, particularly in case of learning new stuffs. Many scenario have been induce for a long-term changes in the neuronal architecture of the human being, including learning a second language, learning new motor skills, even formal education or exam preparation. Presently, the widespread use of Internet across the globe has introduced many, necessity and opportunity to learn new skills and ways to interact with society which could bring a total change.
However, there’s possibility that various types of internet usage could differentially affect our brain and cognitive processes in both adverse and beneficial ways. All this mostly related to the developing brains of children and adolescents as many cognitive processes are not entirely inborn, but rather are strongly influenced by environmental factors.
No one has imagined a life style that we are enjoying now, with the introduction of Internet, enabled fast mobile devices which minimized the area of “Digital Divide” that we experienced earlier by lower and middle class families. Most of us witnessed the beginning of the transition of Internet from “Free-Internet” to “Internet-Everywhere” and most of the younger generations are brought up in a period of connected world. And they are the one which engage extensively with the new technologies with all existing new features of the Internet, some people even termed this generation as “Digital Natives”.
As digital technologies become increasingly integrated with our everyday life, the Internet is becoming highly capable on capturing our attention, which brings a global change in how people gather information, and connects with one another. Concerning all this changes, it is high time to review the emerging situations regarding the pathways through which the Internet and Social media influencing our brains and cognitive processes.
Overall, most of us believe the advancement in science and technology. However, during any early phase of introduction of anything new into our society, well in this case Internet and Social media which is also in a essential period for commencing rigorous and extensive impact assessment on how different types of Internet usage interact with human cognition, Understanding the underlying condition will help in maximizing our opportunities for harnessing this new tool in a beneficial manner, while minimizing the potentially adverse effects.