Is the Web Driving Us Crazy?
I must admit that I check email a few times during the day – well, actually, quite a lot, if I count email check-ups on my iPhone, as well as my computer. It goes like this: Do a little work here, check email there. More work, more email. And maybe I throw in a web search or two, for good measure.
Searching work-related topics? Sometimes. Sometimes not. I also must admit that there is a bit of a mental buzz (the brain chemicals that kick in whenever a person anticipates a future pleasure) when I do these things. Brain scientists say that our brain releases more pleasure chemicals when we anticipate something positive than when the positive event actually occurs. Think: upcoming holidays, vacations, a package in the mail, ordering something online – well, you get the picture.
So what does this have to do with email and Internet searches? Imagine my surprise when I found this article in a back-dated issue of Newsweek Magazine (July 2012): Tweets, Texts, Emails, Posts: Is the Web Making Us Crazy?
While I would like to say that I’m not as “wired” as many people are these days, I definitely feel a vague sense of unease when I don’t have my iPhone handy. So the Newsweek article made me pause and think about my Internet use. No, I haven’t changed much yet, but I’m more aware of the large chunks of time I consume meandering all over the cyber world. And I’m more convinced now that the Internet has the possibility of being as addictive as television or physical substances, or certain behaviors (like shopping).
I leave you with this thought from the last paragraph of the article: “All of us, since the relationship with the Internet began, have tended to accept it as is, without much conscious thought about how we want it to be or what we want to avoid. Those days of complacency should end. The Internet is still ours to shape. Our minds are in the balance.” Certainly food for thought.