Information technology is incredibly enabling. IT gives us the ability to send written material to others, to store and organise data efficiently, and to research subjects that would otherwise be way out of reach. And IT allows us to be available to everyone, all the time.
(See what I did there: IT … it …)
But we sometimes lose sight of the fact that the purpose of technology is to serve. We forget that technology is designed to enable us, rather than dominate us.
Let’s talk about dopamine
Dopamine is a hormone that acts as a neurotransmitter. Its main function is to signal motivational salience – the perceived desirability or repugnance of an outcome. As a result, our behaviour is motivated by the desire for reward or avoidance.
Homo sapiens’ instinct to explore and discover has played a major part in our evolution. So, along with eating, sex, and numerous other reward-based activities, a desire for knowledge stimulates the production of dopamine. Now here’s the rub: when rewards come easily, satisfaction is diminished. Chronically high levels of exposure to a stimulus can result in a disorder of the brain; it’s called addiction.
Multi-tasking dulls the brain
Quick-fix knowledge doesn’t have a monopoly on learning. Snapping a photo every two minutes and cutting off a conversation to read an email are behaviours that are detrimental to “long-hand thinking”. Emotional, social, observational, and cognitive skills are better honed when we’re focused.
Multi-tasking might get things done in the short term; in the long-term, however, our brains will suffer for it.
The trendy word for focused thought – and awareness of the here and now – is mindfulness.
Smartphones are amazing!
We tut at the repeated ping of notifications … sigh with annoyance when the phone rings … scroll feverishly through Facebook for no apparent reason …
Sometimes we forget that smartphones are the most amazing devices. We can do so much with them. Guess what! We can even turn them off.
Yeah, it’s true. And we can do other awesome things, like turn off notifications. Just go into Settings, and then Notifications, and you have the choice to silence alerts for the whole lot – or just for selected apps. Alternatively, you could reduce the volume. Remember that IT should work for you.
At PCSimple, we have more than 30 years’ experience of using and maintaining computer hardware and software, and we’re very good at making IT work for you.
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