Monday, December 7, 2015

Technology And The Millennial Brain

Now days, people are Hyper-connected more than ever, people are linked continuously through
tech devices to other humans and to global intelligence. Before the internet age researchers tried to assess how humans are coping in this highly connected environment and how “chronic multitasking” may diminish our capacity to function effectively and the always-on lifestyle it has made possible and teens and young adults have been at the forefront of this rapid adoption of the mobile internet.

I listened to a podcast by WESA FM, called "Technology And The Millennial Brain" that discussed the recent studies showing that the average millennials  (those born between 1980 and 2000) spends 18 hours a day consuming media, and being that the brain doesn't stop developing until 25, it's apparent that the advance in technology and social media can definitely affect the millennial brain, which is why they are called theNet GenerationorDigital Natives because the generation is more distracted and has a higher rate of multi-taskers because of being so active on technology.

Internet was one used just as a faster way to share data has exponentially grown and taken a life of its own, But does all of this time spent online have consequences? In this incredible age of technology, our computers sometimes seem to have taken control over our everyday lives -- from how we buy groceries to how we find mates. How is all this screen time affecting our brains? "The Internet is an interruption system. It seizes our attention only to scramble it."

Some Neuroscientists have targeted which parts of the developing brain are affected by technology use. According to researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, there are changes in the ways the prefrontal cortex, cerebellum and parietal lobe mature. 

The Internet may give your brain the appearance of an addict. MRI users who have trouble controlling their craving to be constantly plugged-in exhibit changes similar to those seen in people addicted to drugs and alcohol.

According to Wikipedia: Internet addiction disorder (IAD), now more commonly called Problematic Internet Use (PIU),  Compulsive Internet Use (CIU), Internet overuse, problematic computer use, pathological computer use, or iDisorder , refers to excessive computer use which interferes with daily life.

Elaina Zachos, who was was of the key speakers in this podcast says that through her research, she found that many millennials feel as though it is easier to hide behind technology for potentially awkward situations, or even sometimes to break up uncomfortable eye contact during in-person conversation. I completely agree with this, welcome to the age of non-confrontation. No one has thrilling conversations and no one has an attention span long enough to care. Instead, we hide behind screens and try to brush off our feelings as quickly as possible.

It seems as if we just bottle up our emotions and don’t know how to express ourselves freely

anymore, the hesitation to voice our opinions is a form of insecurity. Granted, sometimes the things we want to shout from the rooftops are not things that other people necessarily want to hear, and sometimes we are just too scared to share our feelings. However, I have learned that living in fear only creates distance, which affects the foundation of relationships we have already established. When we’re using cell phones or social media outlets, we don’t have that awkward human encounter; without eye contact and spatial awareness, we essentially start to lose our social skills.

A 2009 study from Stanford University suggests that the brains of people who are constantly bombarded with several streams of electronic information -- from instant messaging to blogs -- may find it difficult to pay attention and switch from one job to another efficiently. "When they're in situations where there are multiple sources of information coming."

Irene Prendergast, who is the owner of a human resources consulting firm, says that there is a barrier between older and younger generations in the workplace, she believes these cultural changes will ultimately be good for the future of business. She makes a good point there, I think this generation is going to be so tech savvy because of how much they are on social media, posting and staying up to date; which may be a good and bad thing depending on the type of job market people are going into. Millennials grew up texting and using Facebook and Twitter, they have grown so accustomed to instantaneous connection and nearly immediate responses each time they Tweet or post. So, most likely in the workplace, they will be expecting the same type of environment. They will want to be able to ask questions and get career advice all the time, but luckily using platforms such a LinkedIn makes it so much easier to keep your resume and skill sets updates simultaneously more than ever before.

A new poll reveals just how different Gen Y workers are from their Baby Boomer forefathers. Among other things, millennials (those in their 20's and early 30's) want flexible work schedules, more “me time” on the job, and nearly nonstop feedback and career advice from managers. They’re also more likely than average to think the boss could learn a thing or two from their young employees. Oh, and they really want to be able to wear jeans at work, and also a recent study by MTV called “No Collar Workers” focuses on Gen Y’s perspectives about the workplace and careers, and what often comes to light is how different their views are from that of their parents’ generation, the boomers.

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