The Internet’s Effects on the Brain: Part 1


The average American spends 23 hours on average on the internet. Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, email – there are countless things that we’re doing on the internet, and doing so, we’re allowing our computers take control of our everyday lives. Think about it – a lot of things that you do in everyday revolve a lot around the use of the internet. We are in the technological age, and we are the technological generation.

In this three-part article, we’ll discuss how the internet is affecting our brains.

As an author of a famous book on the internet Nicholas Carr stated,

“What the internet is, is a very elaborate interruption system. It steals away our attention, only to scramble it across the span of itself.”

Incredible as that might seem, it simply describes our tendency to procrastinate due to the internet. However, is it possible that the internet is helping us to develop certain skills as well? Recent advances in neuroscience reveals that the internet exhibits a certain property called neuroplasticity, which means that it’s able to adapt and change depending on behavior and experience. That in mind, how is this affecting us concerning the internet? Here’s some things you need to know:

  1. The Internet might cause memory problems. One of the many uses of the internet is to Google something. Often, when asked a question we don’t know, we will resort to taking out our smartphones and looking up an answer on the internet. This type of behavior makes it so that we’re conditioned that we don’t need to remember much, due to the ease of just going online to look for an answer.On the other side of the spectrum, if you’re an avid user, it might lead to an overload of information. Even a normal session of Facebook can overload the information going that’s going in your brain, and thus, it makes it harder to store away the information into memory.According to a study from Stanford University, brains that are regularly crammed with information – IM’s to emails to YouTube videos – find it harder to pay attention and switch between tasks efficiently. Apparently, the reasoning behind this is that when there’s so much information bombarding the brain, our brains aren’t able to filter out what’s relevant and which isn’t. The inability to filter these information means that your brain is being stuffed with filler as well, which slows it down.

To be Continued…