Hi everybody! Sorry for the late start, as I had a few things to sort out first.
My topic is on technology, specifically Ultraviolet-emitting diodes such as computers, Iphones, TV's, Walkman's, etc. (okay, maybe not Walkman's). I want to figure out their effects on the brain, and why they are so addicting to nearly everyone that uses them. Whether it's social media, or video games, or instant messaging, these technologies have transformed the way we interact with and view the world around us,
I chose this topic because it centres around an issue that has impacted me in ways that were detrimental to my well-being and happiness. I had always enjoyed playing games on my computer and watching YouTube videos, but about a year ago, the frequency of this began to increase. I started to procrastinate more, putting off more important things like homework and friends. I made excuses, like, "It's been a long day at school, so I deserve a break", or, "I need to balance out entertainment with work", even as the entertainment side was far outbalancing the work side. In short, I was addicted, and it took me far too long to realize it.
This case is by no means exceptional. Millions of people of worldwide face the same plight, yet many are not aware of it. You, reading this post right now, are probably one of them. "But wait", you might be saying,"I don't cruise Facebook or play video games for six hours a day, so I should be fine, right?" Well, let me answer your imaginary question with this: one doesn't smoke a cigarette for six hours a day, do they? Addiction is not measured by the amount of time spent smoking or playing, but rather by the extent it subsumes the willpower, tricking the brain into becoming a psychological dependence as necessary as water or air.
I'm going to start with the neuroscience behind it; looking at the effects of staring at a screen for extended amounts of time compared to not, the areas of our brain that get affected and in what ways, and the reason why we just can't stop checking our damn phones. Then, I'm going to extend it into our behaviour and how it alters our health. Finally, I am going to figure out a set of steps to help us break free of technology's control, as individuals and then hopefully as a society. I may even go without it for a week to test it.
If you have anything to add or question, please let me know as I really welcome your insights! But first, I have a question of my own. If a catastrophic event occurred that somehow knocked out all our cell towers, how would you fare? Could you adapt to the loss of the giant physiological crutch that is the internet?
1. Internet Addiction: A Handbook and Guide for Evaluation and Treatment by Kimberly S. Young