In applying Darwin’s theory of evolution, the Internet, being such a major part of life, is gradually changing the human brain, and the social fabric of society. The tech-savvy, who used to be mocked as nerds, are expected to top the social ladder in the future. Gary Small, a neuroscientist from UCLA, California, warned, “We’re seeing an evolutionary change. The people in the next generation who are really going to have the edge are the ones who master the technological skills and also face-to-face skills.” Findings by Small reveal that doing Internet search and text messaging has actually sped up reflexes and improve the brain’s ability to make decisions quickly.
But while learning and creativity may improve, the quick reflexes of the brain also translate into shorter attention span, stress and damaged neural nerves. The tech-savvy generation or “digital natives” may become socially inept and incompetent. Small cautioned that Internet addicts face “the big problem of neglecting human contact skills and losing the ability to read emotional expressions and body language.” Having more virtual friends than real friends may be easier to handle but less fulfilling.
Technology, for good or bad, is here to stay. Knowledge of how technology affects our lives can help us to navigate through the Digital Age more efficiently.