Screen technology is ruling the world, as the use of these devices is becoming widely popular over past few years. Different form of screen technologies such as computers, hand-held computer games, portable video players, smart phones, and tablets are prominent among students, children, men and women. However, now a day, screen technology is integrating into the daily lives of its users positively and negatively, and shows its influence on cognitive, emotional, and social development. This expository essay illustrates the positive and negative effects of screen technology on the cognitive development and will also highlight the concept of brain plasticity in this context. Moreover, it will also elaborate the impact of screen devices including televisions, smart devices, and other electronic screen gadgets on the cognitive development.
Screen technologies are associated with the transient changes in the education sector of children. The technology is benefitting the engaged person in terms of increase learner efficiency, performance gains, greater learner engagement, and positive student attitude towards learning. In a study, it was opined that the current explosion of digital technology is not only changing the way to live and communicate, but is also rapidly and profoundly altering the brains (Carr, 2010). Through the study she concluded that time spent with sensor technology make a person curious about reading, distracted thinking, and superficial learner. These technologies sometimes are also helping in improving attention, memory and reflexes in person using screen technology based brain training games.
With fruitful impact of screen technology, the advanced technology also contributes towards the negative impacts on cognitive development. Children and adolescent are growing up along with the exposure of both traditional and modern screen technologies. Children are in the growing stage of development, thus the overexposure to these screen technologies will harm their health and also degrade their cognitive growth. The major reason of health risk is associated with the inappropriate use of screen devices in terms of content, frequency, duration, posture they adopt while using. The health risk associated with the over utilization of devices include developmental problem, musculoskeletal problem, obesity, physical inactivity, and sleep apnea. Greenfield, 2012, stated in his research that “our brain goes on developing, changing with age, and it also shaped substantially by what the person is engaged with in his/her daily life” (Greenfield, 2014).
Moreover, many studies have also highlighted the points that usage of computer games led to the development of dementia in children, and also rise in autism diagnoses among children (Goldacre, 2011). Through these findings, it can be suggested that advent usage of screen technology negatively affect the human brain and interfere in its development. It was also found that over and regular usage of screen technology leads to the micro-cellular level causes the changes in characters, personality, and behavior. Moreover, one of the other factor for the upsurge use of these smart technologies is easy access of internet, which is a source of vast amounts of information. This is making people into shallower thinkers, and thus, literally changing the structure of the brain
The circuitry of brain is constantly changes due to the experience one have during his/her life. These changes can be confined as brain plasticity, which are directly linked with functional changes such as memory, addiction, behavior, and recovery (Greenfield, 2012). Plasticity sometimes, also contributes to the well-being of the societies, as it is directly linked with learning, memory, brain development, homeostasis, sensorial training, and sometimes recovery from brain lesions. The cognitive development of brain due to these medium depends on age of child, social context of viewing, and kind of program one is involved in viewing.
However, the increase usages of these technologies cause negative implications on brain. The brains of individuals have been accustomed towards the constant overload of visual information from screen technology. This visual information includes graphic, text, images, videos, and other digital stimuli. Due to these, the brain becoming plastic towards the selective information and degrading the other, this hinders one to learn more.
Thus, the overutilization and over usage of screen technologies affect brain in long-term. The major reason of the long-term effect is that the individual brain is highly capable and adaptable of plasticity and malleability. The plasticity and malleability is caused due to internal and external factors. Internal factors associate with the inner metabolic activity inside human being. The external factor includes the person surroundings like their society, parents, friends, and the electronic gadget surround him. The society and family have positive impact on the human brain as they develop sensory and emotional behavior through them. But, the electronic gadget like digital and screen technology along with digital stimulating stimuli effect the brain development. This can be faceted with the study done at Harvard Medical School, with individuals (Greenfield, 2014). They found that brain of the group who were sat in room and did nothing, hasn’t changed. Second group who were told to do imaginary exercise had changed their brain structure. While the group who are playing piano have less brain structure changes. These changes highlight that the brain plasticity totally depend on our surrounding.
With these screen technology, people are able to do heavy multitasking, that is it causing neuroplasticity in the brain individuals. This is due to the fact that the actual physical and digital stimulating environment factor actively influence on neurons and synapse in the brains (Levi, 2010). This leads to development of viewing and hearing impulse among children who engaged themselves in heavy screen technologies. These facts also shift one feeling from sensory to cognitive and make individual emotionally weak. (Caar, 2010).
From the about facts and literature, we can say that individual live are totally immersed in technology and every one in world is now connected with screen technology of computers, video games, laptops, iPods, smart phones and many more. They are becoming an essential part of our connectivity and everyday life chores. But, these things have some potential detrimental effects on cognitive development. The intense usage of these electronic gadgets affects the brain and made it able to change its activity in response to intrinsic and extrinsic factor, thus result in plasticity of brain. They effect the child’s development in terms of information processing, problem solving, and memory boosting, and thinking ability. Thus, from that it can be concluded that sustainable usage of these screen technologies should be adopted. With sustainable usage, one can get the benefits of health as well as use the devices for knowledge advancement.
Carr, N 2010, ‘The web shatters focus, rewires brain’, Wired, viewed 9 December 2019, http://www.wired.com/2010/05/ff_nicholas_carr
Greenfield, S 2014, ‘Modern technology is changing the way our brains work, says neuroscientist’, Daily Mail Australia, viewed 9 December 2019, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-565207/Modern-technology-changing-waybrains-work-says-neuroscientist.html
Goldacre, B 2011, ‘Why won’t Professor Susan Greenfield publish this theory in a scientific journal?’, Bad Science, viewed 9 December 2019, http://www.badscience.net/2011/11/why-wont-professor-greenfield-publish-this-theory-in-ascientific-journal/
Greenfield, S 2012, The future of the brain, ABC Big Ideas, viewed 9 December 2019, http://youtu.be/Aa7qhUth7QY
Levy, N 2012, ‘Your brain on the internet: a response to Susan Greenfield,’ The Conversation, viewed 9 December 2019, http://theconversation.com/your-brain-on-the-internet-a-response-to-susan-greenfield-8694
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