Did you know, that the internet is not only keeping you young, but could be actually making you younger?
“There is no doubt that brains are being rewired,” danah boyd, a senior researcher at Microsoft Research. “The techniques and mechanisms to engage in rapid-fire attention shifting will be extremely useful for the creative class.”
Studies show that the internet is actually reshaping our brains. UCLA professor of psychiatry Gary Small studied brain activity in experienced web surfers versus casual web surfers. MRI scans on both groups to evaluate brain activity revealed that Internet surfing, the brain activity of the experienced Internet users was far more extensive than that of the novices, particularly in the prefrontal cortex associated with problem-solving and decision making.
However, the two groups had no differences in brain activity when reading simple blocks of text.
Web users had developed because of their Web use. Dr. Small concluded that “The current explosion of digital technology not only is changing the way we live and communicate, but is rapidly and profoundly altering our brains.”
The internet helps boost brain power for middle-aged and older people. By engaging in complicated brain activity, it helps exercise and improve their brain functions. People are using technology as external memory storage.
Los Angeles Times says, quoting the researchers:
[W]e’ve come to use our laptops, tablets and smartphones as a ‘form of external or transactive memory, where information is stored collectively outside of ourselves. … We are becoming symbiotic with our computer tools, growing into interconnected systems that remember less by knowing information than by knowing where information can be found.’
Sparrow believes that this is what is making us smarter, because we don’t waste energy trying to memorize facts, which is reserving brainpower for understanding the big picture.
Facts show the correlation between longer, healthier lives and feeling happy and more connected to others. Technology gives plenty of tools to communicate and stay connected. A bedridden grandparent can attend a grandchild’s birthday, or stay in contact via voice and text communication over the internet. Access to medical information can literally be a life-saver for seniors. Websites like WebMD offer valuable information ranging from early warning signs to cutting edge treatments.
WebMD also offers tips as well as advice for specific diseases, including articles and summaries of the medical procedures and medications available on the market. Greater knowledge and informed decisions can significantly improve life expectancy. By recognizing and treating ailments sooner and more effectively, they can often be managed more efficiently.
the DIY Generation
DIY or Dot it Yourself videos and articles allow people to learn, stay active, and even save money. You can keep up with or even learn a favorite sport or hobby, with video sites like Youtube.com, Espn.com or Hulu.com. You can learn how to fix your car, troubleshoot a hardware issue, play guitar, even deliver a baby. You can shop online, watch movies, and get coupons.
All of this activity is keeping the mind continually engaged, and an engaged mind will stay healthy, and less likely to develop degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s Disease and dementia.
Brigham Young University did a study that shows staying socially engaged and interacting regularly with friends and family can help you live longer by reducing feelings of depression, stress, and risky behavior, while encouraging you to care more for your health.
Lack of regular social interaction can have the same negative health effects as smoking 15 cigarettes a day!
The internet keeps you COOL
The other day, I was on Facebook and I was watching a conversation between my friend and her teenage daughter. They were sharing the love of a song that had recently come out. Looking over the course of their Facebook activity, their posts were filled with the sharing of pop culture, trends and current events. If you didn’t know they were mother daughter, you would think they were friends. Mom understood and used all the terminology, and daughter was enjoying talking about it with her and not embarrassed that her mom was practicing her twerking, or was using terms like “peeps” and “bae”.
I think most people in their thirties and older can related, that we thought our parents were so UNCOOL and didn’t understand us, our generation or our music. I rebelled against my parents and got into a lot of trouble. I could talk about things openly in front of them and know they had no idea what I was talking about. That was because until the 2000’s, parents didn’t have the internet to keep up to date with the trends. The only information parents were getting was what kids CHOSE to tell them. And let’s be honest, in a “parents just don’t understand” generation, that was very little.
The internet has changed how we interact with our kids. Now we can actually keep up with the “cool kids” which helps to build a stronger connection and support system.
Researcher Sanford Grossbart explored the relationship between the mother and child and how Internet use affected this relationship. The basis is that around the relationship between parent and child is highly influenced by the changing experiences and events of the generation.
“Parental warmth” is a factor in how receptive a parent is to being taught by their child. Parents who are open are more open to learning how to use the Internet from their child even if the parent happened to be more knowledgeable on the subject. This fosters teaching in a positive environment, which sustains a strong relationship between mother and child, encourages education, and promotes mature behavior.
“The explosion of technology over the last 10 years is just the start of a symbiotic new world. Computers and handsets are becoming an extension of body and mind, creating a Cyborg-like population.” says author Marc Prensky
The human race is now in a struggle to keep up with technology.
While we may be struggling to keep up, the facts show that overall, the advance in technology is completely changing and greatly benefiting how we live our lives and even how long.