Digital Media’s Effects on the Brain

Digital Media's Effects on the Brain
6 mn read


This paper explores the effects of digital media on the brain, and the reason for the selection of this topic is that for a decade, man has forgotten what he has learned for a thousand years. The most appealing point of this topic is that we often hear that technology is changing the world, but rarely do we feel these changes in ourselves. The Washington Post published an article about a new way of reading, which people have mastered through the Internet, and about what it will lead us and offers an adapted translation of this article. A distinctive feature of the digital space is that the impact is two-way: it forms us, and we do it. Often this interaction seems to us useful, but do not underestimate the risks inherent in the freedom of communication presented by the Internet. People responsible for the formation of the Internet environment: the creators of services and their users, journalists, politicians, lawyers, educators, psychologists, and, in general, adults; it is important to ensure that the network space is safe for the younger generation.

SECTION 2: Topic Summary

The brain is the most complex organ of man. How he learns and manages and how these processes affect one another is explained by Manfred Spitzer in his books and speeches. Digital media is doing mental work for us. What we used to do with the help of our brain today is taken up by computers and smartphones. This is fraught with great danger because they cause addiction and harm to the body: memory weakens, nerve cells die, and children and adolescents lose their ability to learn. The use of digital devices is harmful to humans: there is a tendency to violence, a sense of fear and indifference, depression and much more. We are obliged to protect our children from the media and communication.

Dementia is not only forgetfulness. For me, the phenomenon of digital dementia means not only that today’s young people are becoming more and more forgetful (this was first pointed out by Korean scientists back in 2007). Largely, we are talking about a reduction in mental capacity, loss of thinking skills and the ability to critically assess facts, and inability to navigate the flow of information.

Many people say that since the new digital technologies are now part of everyday life, we must teach them, children, in advance. This must be countered: the new media and media have – in the same way as alcohol, nicotine and other drugs – the ability to be addictive. Painful dependence on the computer and the Internet is becoming more frequent – with disastrous consequences for people who are exposed to it.

The more superficially I get into the essence of the information received, the fewer synapses will be activated in my brain; hence, I will remember it badly. Understanding this is extremely important because it is for this reason that digital media and the Internet have a negative impact on the learning process. It is thanks to the media and the Internet that our perception of information is gradually becoming more and more superficial. Previously, the texts were read; today, they are skimmed over; that is, they jump on top. Earlier in the subject delved, today instead travel on the Internet (that is, they slide on the surface of information, even the word surf appeared).

American scientists have investigated the question of what happens when a group of three people recall something together. Groups of three people watched a short film and then had to describe what they saw. First, we recalled separately. Then the film was discussed in the group, in direct contact (face to face) or through the indirect digital exchange: everyone exchanged views with other members of the group through a computer. This exchange was to the benefit of the truth: after an exchange of views, each was asked separately about the content of the film. The product of joint recall turned out to be closer to the truth in comparison with individual memories. In addition, the following important result was revealed: the ability to recall an individual member of the group was better if the process of collective recall occurred not by electronic means but by direct contact. The reasons for this are obvious: personal contact gives much more material for processing and leads to more emotional and profound processing than poor contact through the screen and keyboard.


For this section, following Romero, 2011; Smith, 2009; Meshi, 2015, additional sources have been found which are relevant to the topic, and these sources provide information on digital media and have relevance to social media.

The feeling of loneliness is more often spread through friends than through relatives and affects girls and women more than boys and men. In this connection, the fact that contacts via virtual social networks are more often associated with the transmission of negative emotions than communication in the real world is of particular importance. This explains why people feel alone in networks.

Anyone who has many friends at 20 years old can safely maintain their social contacts through networks like Facebook. It is completely innocuous – you can compare it with using a computer to write student work. The situation is quite different when children are turning to new technology, the process of development of which has not been completed. Here, electronic media and media definitely hamper the acquisition of the experience necessary for healthy development. Those who spend a lot of time in their youth spend time communicating on Facebook are less likely to show social activity in reality. This inevitably leads to social frustration, which is why the virtual community often causes negative emotions in adolescents. Think about it: children spend on direct social contact on average about two hours, whereas in the virtual world, they spend an average of at least seven hours. In this way, they become disaccustomed to real social contacts – and suffer from this.

In other words, how effectively our brain is controlled by the information it receives depends on how this information was obtained! The way in which something is studied determines how the learned is deposited in the brain. Anyone who is acquainted with the world by clicking the mouse that some media educators are propagating will be able to think about it much less efficiently and slowly. Clicking with the mouse is an act of demonstration and not an act of manipulation (that is, handling a thing with the help of hands). For those who intend to acquire serious knowledge, one should turn to the real world. The knowledge we get at the computer is weaker and slower printed in our brain than those that can be touched. At the same time, we know that the speed of thinking processes is closely related to the level of intelligence. The speed of thinking is a sign of high intelligence.

Digital means of writing are becoming more and more widespread, and it is hardly surprising that children are more often acquainted for the first time with written speech through them rather than by reading books and handwritten notes on paper. Already there are the first results of scientific research proving that the use of digital means for writing, which begins already in childhood, adversely affects the ability to read in children and adults. Neurobiological studies carried out using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) show that only the formation of letters with the help of a pencil paves motor traces of memory that, during the perception of letters, are activated and facilitate the recognition of letters by their visual image. This extra motor track of memory that facilitates reading is not formed if the letters were entered via the keyboard because the movements necessary to press the key have nothing to do with the shape of the letters.

One of the fundamental reviews of the scientific literature on the behavior of young people in the search for information carried out by the authors shows: that there is no reason to assert that young people perform a search better than adults do; over the past 15 years, such behavior has not undergone any significant changes. It is because the Network allows you to ask direct questions instead of narrowing the search field by means of skillfully combining keywords, it cannot contribute to the optimization of information retrieval, the authors indicate in another part of this review. In addition, since young people do not know exactly how information can be organized and what is the logic of the reciprocal links between different information – what is important and what is not – they cannot really conduct a search on the Web. A study conducted by the British Library staff eliminated a number of prejudiced opinions: An accurate analysis of the literature on the last 25 years does not show any improvement (and no worsening) in the ability of young people to handle information. The authors of the study believe that the opinion that the generation of Google is a generic copy and paste is true.

Insomnia is one of the most frequent negative consequences of using digital media and media. Those who use digital media and media, especially in the evenings – communicate through chat rooms, sit in social networks, play games and still do not part with a mobile phone – more and more often, there are sleep disorders. The one, who deprives himself of sleep, being unable to tear him away from the digital media, commits a serious crime against his own organism. The opinion that a small amount of sleep causes only short-term fatigue is erroneous. For a long time, insufficient sleep leads to a decrease in immunity, that is, to the frequent occurrence of infectious and cancerous diseases. There is an increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, painful overweight and diabetes.

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