Is Google Bad For Your Brain?

Tell me if the situation I’m describing is familiar to you: You scroll through your Newsfeed and find a link that might be interesting. You start reading the article – or try to, anyway. But one of the paragraphs references something you’re not entirely familiar with, so you open another tab and Google it.

It doesn’t matter what you’re Googling – maybe an obscure pop culture reference or an allusion to a historical event you can’t recall. But you’ve gotten so distracted by your ability to find the answer to literally any passing question in your mind that you can’t even finish an article that’s probably not 500 words long.

It’s not just Google that’s the culprit. At all moments of the day, technology makes it easy for people to reach us so that we’re constantly interrupted. Unfortunately, your inbox does not operate from 9 to 5, like your office does.

These constant interruptions make it harder for us to focus. If you click on an article that’s too text-heavy, your brain immediately gives you the equivalent of the blue screen of death and you find yourself unable to focus. Surfing the web may mean that you’re privy to a sea of information that you couldn’t have otherwise devoured – but it also means that your brain has become more accustomed to skimming.

Skimming or speed-reading is how most people read things on the Internet. Don’t get me wrong; it’s an extremely efficient way of extracting information. But why are we skimming? Mostly because we don’t want to actually commit to reading something that might turn out to be boring. We’re skimming to find important information or interesting links and so we hop from page to page until our eyeballs fall out.

You might be thinking, how is being able to learn a lot of information really quickly a bad thing? Well, it’s not intrinsically bad. But your web habits can have a detrimental effect on your brain. A Danish study found that spending time online can actually hurt your ability to store memories. So it’s all the more important that you schedule offline time for yourself.

But before you start making plans to go completely off the grid there are some good things about the Internet. A UCLA study found that searching the Internet can actually improve brain function in the middle-aged and the elderly.

So the answer to the question in the title is yes and no. Improving your brain function is always good but not at the expense of your memory. The lesson we can take away from this? Everything in moderation. It goes for candy – and it goes for the Internet.

Enjoyed this? Check out Excel Formulas To Help You Budget!

Written by Roselyn Sebastian

 

Tell me if the situation I’m describing is familiar to you: You scroll through your Newsfeed and find a link that might be interesting. You start reading the article – or try to, anyway. But one of the paragraphs references something you’re not entirely familiar with, so you open another tab and Google it.

It doesn’t matter what you’re Googling – maybe an obscure pop culture reference or an allusion to a historical event you can’t recall. But you’ve gotten so distracted by your ability to find the answer to literally any passing question in your mind that you can’t even finish an article that’s probably not 500 words long.

It’s not just Google that’s the culprit. At all moments of the day, technology makes it easy for people to reach us so that we’re constantly interrupted. Unfortunately, your inbox does not operate from 9 to 5, like your office does.

These constant interruptions make it harder for us to focus. If you click on an article that’s too text-heavy, your brain immediately gives you the equivalent of the blue screen of death and you find yourself unable to focus. Surfing the web may mean that you’re privy to a sea of information that you couldn’t have otherwise devoured – but it also means that your brain has become more accustomed to skimming.

Skimming or speed-reading is how most people read things on the Internet. Don’t get me wrong; it’s an extremely efficient way of extracting information. But why are we skimming? Mostly because we don’t want to actually commit to reading something that might turn out to be boring. We’re skimming to find important information or interesting links and so we hop from page to page until our eyeballs fall out.

You might be thinking, how is being able to learn a lot of information really quickly a bad thing? Well, it’s not intrinsically bad. But your web habits can have a detrimental effect on your brain. A Danish study found that spending time online can actually hurt your ability to store memories. So it’s all the more important that you schedule offline time for yourself.

But before you start making plans to go completely off the grid there are some good things about the Internet. A UCLA study found that searching the Internet can actually improve brain function in the middle-aged and the elderly.

So the answer to the question in the title is yes and no. Improving your brain function is always good but not at the expense of your memory. The lesson we can take away from this? Everything in moderation. It goes for candy – and it goes for the Internet.

Enjoyed this? Check out Excel Formulas To Help You Budget!

Written by Roselyn Sebastian

 

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