Is internet usage making us stupid?

2012

If you're managing a remote team, you spend an unholy amount of time online. If you feel that this might be impacting your brain, you're right. If you suspect those changes might not all be for the better, you're right there, too.

Check out this full (and fun!) inforgraphic on the ForensicPsychology.net site. Some of the highlights include:

  • We change our working computer screen on average every 2 minutes, switching between email, webbrowsers and actual work documents. That isn't helping our attention span at all. (And some of us needed no help in that department to start with).
  • All that switching actually reduces the ability to process the information properly. We do more but at a lower level of attention and quality.
  • The average person accesses three times as much information as they did in the 1960s.
  • To combat this overload we use Google as a proxy for our own memories. As a result, we remember less than we ever did but can gain access to way more information when we need it.
  • If Google ever blew up we'd be in a world of hurt.

Here's where the conclusions get a bit fuzzy and we have to process them carefully (if we aren't too ADD-addled to function at that level). Since we need (or feel we need) to access more information than our brains can hold, we need to use technology like the web and really, does it matter if you remember that contact information as long as you can access it when you need it?

On the other hand, having a fully functioning brain is never a bad thing, and memorizing information actually helps your brain make connections that help creativity and problem solving.

So here's the deal, reading this article, then checking out the infographic we spoke about is a good thing. Odds are, though, you flipped back and forth and if there was a quiz you'd probably not retain much of what I just said.

So how about trying to slow down, reducing the number of open windows and actually completing one task before tackling the next one. (Just saying!)

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About The Author

Wayne Turmel
Wayne Turmel

Wayne Turmel is a speaker, writer and co-founder of The Remote Leadership Institute. He’s passionate about helping people present, sell and lead people and projects using today’s virtual communication technology. His books include Meet Like You Mean It - a Leader’s Guide to Painless and Productive Virtual Meetings. Wayne is based in Chicago, IL.