Wiring More Than Devices | The Effects Technology Has On The Young Learning Brain

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This is completely opinionated and has no research validation. However, I felt that it is relevant experiences occurring in society today. Some of what I say below I have consulted research, though I did not go back and insert any of that since this is intended to be off the cusp and focuses solely on emotion and view.

As I walked into work this morning I hear a student say, “I have to go but you can text me throughout this class.”

My little light bulb illuminates giving the signal that I am thinking. Are our children and young adults learning in school today? Can they pay attention and if so how well? Do they have an inflated sense of self eluding them to believe that they can multitask really well or has the chemistry in our brains mutated into a super powered brain? Or could it be something less impressive?

Days Of The Past

Let’s take a walk back to the 70’s or 80’s. What comes to my mind in a flash is simpler times – times where I was not constantly fidgeting with a small handy gadget that has more answers than my aged and seasoned mind. Those were times to remember and have even reemerged as hilarious television shows. But we have to put all those wholesome stories to bed since, as they are long past due. But just before I lay down those old memories into some far away gravesite I must ask, do I have the same brain or is that lost and worthy of burying too.

Thinking In A Flash

Today everyone is thought to have instantaneous responses to some deep-seated concerns. If the answer is not readily available there is always Google or Siri. So do we really need the answer or do we rely on the heavily watered down version of whatever thrills us. It just seems that we are physically connected to so many devices, yet that physical connection has afforded the ability to emotionally disconnect.

Impulse control is all but lost. Imagine a young person waiting for a letter in the mail. They might as well croak over dead in front of you because they could never handle that type of anticipation. Social media gives the impression that I am really connected to all my followers and the more friends I have equates to social popularity. Thereby, if someone doesn’t instantaneously respond to my latest picture posted and I know they are online because their green button is illuminated, then they must hate me. So patience is not less than desired in our world today.

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The Electronic Apocalypse

Just for a moment imagine that you woke up one day without a single electronic device. Yes those that get you through the day and help you to think your way out of a paper bag. Could you find your way to your next meeting without Google Maps or to find out where to purchase a present for a 3-year-old girl since you are on the way to her birthday party? What is the cost of all our technological advances? Would you just burst into flames from overwhelming stress because your life as you know it has slipped out of your hands. Well we cannot turn back at this point and must accept the times we are in. But if we tried a true disaster would likely ensue.

Are we there yet?
Are we there yet? | Source

Emotional Withdrawal

It seems that with the advances of technology everyone is texting more and talking less. One immediate concern is that as humans we are emotionally connected creatures. What that means is we need to feel and reciprocate love as a part of human fulfillment. Though, texting does not afford one to recognize facial expressions, which help to identify and connect emotionally. Yeah I know we have Emoji now and that will do for the time being. But seriously, I am saying that our ability to emotionally connect has been altered and thereby it is possible that we lose the brain connections that recognize facial expressions, empathy, fear and possibly can affect our overall fight-or-flight response.

Does It Sink In Or Sit On The Surface

Back to the original reason I wrote this article. Are we able to absorb information or does it just sit on the surface since we have changed the way in which students connect to professors. I know in my own personal experience when I am on my phone texting I am really not in tune with whomever is speaking. That equates to receiving only a portion of the information. Thereby are young people learning less than in the past due to their inability to remain focused.

Just think of the information stored on your phone. How many phone numbers do you remember. There is an application for everything. You want it you got it in one click before it’s downloaded. There is no need to be resourceful as long as you have an Internet connection. So what will that tell us one day about intellect. Will we even care since you don’t actually need to be intelligent you just need to know the right search keyword.

Is There A Bigger Issue At Hand

With that being said, are we creating a bigger issue by progressing so far with technology. If people are multitasking and unable to remain focused on the task at hand then in some ways is society creating a new wave Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. The symptomatology that is emerging as a result of technology is mimicking ADHD in many ways. I find myself having trouble staying focused on one task since I have become accustomed to doing many things at once as World Wide Web grabs ahold and doesn’t let go.

Are The Costs Of Technology Worth It?

In the end, are we getting the best bang for our buck? In many ways we are but in the department of human experience I believe that we are fooling ourselves to believe we are progressing. Working with college students I have found that many of them do not know how to solve problems with relationships, they have difficulties talking to others and exceptional difficulties making friends. It seems that young people are not able to connect in the ways that we did in the 70’s or 80’s. I am sure there are other hypotheses about how we have come to this point. But I feel that our advances in technology undeniably lead to it.

Siri Cannot Fix Everything

Young people have lost the ability to problem solve and the generation that can is aging quickly by the moment. Aside from that no one can look up from their devices long enough to learn how to problem solve. Those that are modeling such behavior have lost their audience and for those that don’t have a device lodged far inside their orifice one will shortly come along at the appropriate age. If Siri only knew how this world would depend on her for so many things she may have found a way to self-destruct before her launch. But too late now Siri you have followers and they need your help.

Are you happy with the way your new wires look?

Yeah they are not physical wires but those imagined wires are far stronger than the physical ones were once made out to be. When the first computer was officially launched did anyone know we would be here one day. Imagining life when many of the technological advances today were just in theory. But now we have watched those innovations come to life and take over the world. Even myself – as I write this I habitually look at my phone to ensure I have not missed any tidbit of the world around me. Before I settle and allow my opinion be heard – I just want to check in with everyone and find if you are content with your new age robotic and dependent brain that technology has now morphed you toward.

My sarcasm is flowing today, maybe I need to listen to students a little more and be less analytical. Maybe I should ask Siri for her advice.

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16 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

I have had concerns for quite some time now about the advancement of technology and the effect it has on our culture. It's nice to know someone else sees many of the things I see. Well-written Michelle, and very interesting.


mdscoggins profile image

mdscoggins 2 years ago from Fresno, CA Author

Thanks Bill for the support. It is a little scary to think that we are moving closer to becoming the "Jetsons" and I am a little scared to be so robotic.


sheilamyers 2 years ago

You make some very valid points. I do believe people today have what amounts to ADHD, can't solve relationship problem, and the other things you mentioned because they're too dependent on technology. It seems if technology can't produce an answer or solution, they think those things don't exist. Mostly it's the younger people - those under 40 - but I notice more and more of the older people are falling into the technology trap. There are days I wish some solar flare would wipe out all cell phone and computer use for a few weeks. Unfortunately, the good technology does for business and so forth would also suffer.


mdscoggins profile image

mdscoggins 2 years ago from Fresno, CA Author

Thanks Sheila for the comment. I could see the benefit of removing computers for a moment but you are absolutely right, this is our society now and many businesses rely on this technology. Just as we converse here on HP - years ago it would be impossible. So the friendships that we have gained because technology are sure a plus.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

Excellent article and great insight as to what effects technology has on young brains, and even our older brains! We are certainly too dependent now on all of the world's knowledge at our fingertips, that we really do not have to think at all, which is a scary thought. I remember that I used to know all the phone numbers of my friends, family and all, but now, I do not have to due to my smart phone knows everything I ever needed to know or know ... sad to say.

The fact that we are losing that human touch and real human contact, face-to-face, to the point of not knowing how to truly carry on a relationship with someone is disturbing.

Voted up +++ tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing


mdscoggins profile image

mdscoggins 2 years ago from Fresno, CA Author

Thanks Faith Reaper for the recognition and the sharing. It is pretty scary how technology is changing how we relate to each other. Have a great day!!


word55 profile image

word55 2 years ago from Chicago

This was a great article mdscoggns. Hopefully, the brain can remain highly intact and function appropriately when any aspect of it is needed. Thanks for your expertise!


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 2 years ago from East Coast, United States

I read somewhere that the act of answering a phone or text creates little surges of pleasure in the brain and that you can become addicted to it. So many young people keep phone in hand. Whatever they are doing, when they are with other people, the devise is removing them from the moment, interrupting the flow of conversation. Technology is a tool for us to use. It can be helpful. But I see obsession. (shared and tweeted)


firstday profile image

firstday 2 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

Thank you for writing and bringing this to more people's attention. It is true. You wrote, "Young people have lost the ability to problem solve and the generation that can is aging quickly by the moment." Yes, you are right.

Home schooling is an option and yes, these kids are too plugged in to technology.


mdscoggins profile image

mdscoggins 2 years ago from Fresno, CA Author

Thanks word55 for the comment. Hopefully we can hold it together.


mdscoggins profile image

mdscoggins 2 years ago from Fresno, CA Author

Thanks Dolores for the share and tweet. It is true that we have been seeing an increase of addiction as it relates to cell phones and electronic devices. It is even listed as part of the diagnostic criteria for mental health issues.


mdscoggins profile image

mdscoggins 2 years ago from Fresno, CA Author

Thanks firstday for the comment. It really is scary that the problem solvers are deteriorating and those left behind don't have a clue.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

Thing do seem to have shot to the time of the Jetsons and it is a bit scary but it also puts us at instant knowledge. We can see everything going on in the whole world over. I find that exciting and being a Christian I think it will answer the questions to how the whole world witnessed certain things. Now we see how that can be.


mdscoggins profile image

mdscoggins 2 years ago from Fresno, CA Author

Thanks Jackie for the comment. Technology surely is scary but also comes with many answers. It is also helpful when trying to solve an argument instantly :)


Iris Draak profile image

Iris Draak 2 years ago from Boise, Idaho

Michelle, I remember way back when I got rid of my home phone and carried a cell exclusively. Even though I carried it on my person at all times, I still have strong boundaries about my availability. If I am on a hike or ride, it is for emergency purposes only (my use). There was one particular person in my life back then who get very upset if I didn't answer every time she called. To her thinking, my access to the phone meant my obligation to it. I think many people feel that kind of obligation to the person on the other end of their technology, but it's an artificial one and one that is entirely self-imposed.

On a positive note, I am meeting more and more 20ish types who value hand written notes and letters. They keep them and re-read them even years later. This just makes me happy.


mdscoggins profile image

mdscoggins 2 years ago from Fresno, CA Author

Thanks Iris for the comment and perspective. You are absolutely right when you say a self-imposed obligation because I do feel like that at times but have began putting boundaries on my time. I recently had to set limitations on work related emails where I now only read them while at work and I disconnect after hours and on the weekend. So technology is great but has certainly attached some unrealistic ties to us as a society.

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