Digital Overload – how it affects the brain.

This might seem like a strange post for a digital space like a blog, but it is important to take note of the effects of constant digital contact – via email, twitter, facebook – on the brain.

Researchers investigating brain activity have identified that trying to check digital communications while performing other activities –  multitasking (which is actually rapidly changing focus from one thing to another in the brain) – uses more energy than focussing on one activity. This affects the performance and functional ability of our brains to remember information and make clear decisions.  This multitasking also results in production of stress hormones in the body which affect behaviour, making us irritable and grumpy.

Managing ourselves in a digital world is difficult – emails, texts and messages constantly arrive at our devices or computers all hours of every day and we feel compelled to check them and reply.  Keeping up with it all is impossible, and trying to do so is detrimental to our brain function, which is especially concerning for children growing up in an age of constant contact.  Allocating set times for digital communication may be helpful – not trying to multitask continuously and focussing on one thing at a time – maintaining the discipline to do so will be harder.