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Is Technology Making Us Smarter or… Dumber?

Nowadays, we use our computer, smartphone, and tablet devices for just about everything.  However, could the very tools we use to help us actually be hurting us? There has long been a debate about how the internet and other devices are “rewiring” our younger generation. So, the Pew Internet Project and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center created a survey, getting an expert opinion from over 1,000 “technology leaders, watchers, advocates, and enthusiasts.” The participants were asked to choose between two detailed choices. Is technology a positive impact or a negative influence?

Apparently, even the experts are divided on the issue: 55 percent of the participants felt that the “rewiring” of our teens and young adults will yield “helpful results.” And 42 percent felt that the results will be “baleful” (three percent didn’t respond). The results are close; in fact, the researchers said that it’s “really probably more like a 50-50 outcome.”

 What are the positive influences of technology?

With the Internet’s plethora of information some experts predict that it will enhance future generations’ multitasking and reasoning abilities. It’s also believed that the Internet will be like an “external brain” for our youth, allowing them to problem solve differently from their elders. Still, the negative impact may not give them a great advantage.

What are the negative influences of technology?

Some experts predict that the next generation will “thirst” for instant gratification and quick fixes and exhibit a loss of patience. They fear that instead of investigating problems our youth will take all things at face value. They also predict a growth in technology-dependency. So, if we experienced a sudden technology breakdown it would render a lot of young people “functionally useless.”

With the surge in social media, many are concerned with the social ramifications of “hyper-connectivity.” Facebook and Twitter allow us to virtually connect and befriend thousands of people; however, many miss out on the high level of intimacy and personal engagement that a face-to-face interaction can bring.

Whether positive or negative, technology has definitely impacted our lives. And in order to carefully navigate in the technology-enhanced future we should remember the importance of moderation. For instance, consider getting back to the basics by practicing a regular tech detox. Do an hour of technology-free activity with your family (this includes cellphones). How do you feel?

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