In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Connect the Dots.”
“Just google it” how many times have you heard this phrase? Or used this sentence yourself? I am sure we all use the phrase quite often! Google for many of us is that magical Pandora’s Box with answers to all sorts of questions. Be it in school or at work we are all encouraged to make full use of the search engines like Google. And rightfully so, when there is so much information available in these engines, why not make use of it?
I never once doubted that using google would be bad for me in any way. On the contrary it is supposed to be good. Google helps enhance your knowledge, right?
Well, you may be surprised to learn that it is not so. Excess use of Search Engines like Google can also be bad for you or your brain in particular. Recently I happened to read this article on the topic while flipping through my Flip It board. According to the article, excess usage of search engines like Google has an impact on our brains. Depending too much on Google is slowly but surely killing our memory, says the most recent research by cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab.
In a survey conducted, most people revealed that they would google something if they were unable to remember it rather than wasting time trying to remember it.
Our brain is designed to function in a way that every piece of information we come across is sorted on a ‘need-to-store’ or a ‘fine-to-forget’ basis. The need-to-store kind of information is stored away in the brain to be retrieved and used whenever necessary. For example, if we’ve read a book about improving relationships, and that book provides specifics on how to do this, our brain is expected to store that information to be retrieved and used but if we don’t remember that particular aspect discussed in the book when necessary, we’ve failed to reap the fruits from that great read.
Our long-term memories significantly strengthens brain functioning and by not using it as much as we should or relying too much on the Google aid, we are preventing our brain from strengthening and functioning optimally. So while Google is great for research and fine-to-forget facts, it won’t help us when we need to access important knowledge in real life scenarios.
This, I think, is particularly true in my case. For the longest time I can remember, I have been relying on search engines for answers to anything that I am doubtful about. I would happily and undoubtedly google the moment I came across something that I am not familiar with. And I have always been proud of the fact that I google so much. In my head, I am thinking that I am adding to my knowledge base. Well, from the looks of it I am actually draining the database rather than adding to it!
Off late, I have also been complaining more and more of bad memory. I am always forgetting things, words, chores and what not. Come to think of it, I am probably a slave to my smart phone. I will not be able to exist without technology because of my dependency on it. I need it to route my daily commute, I need it to plan my week and month ahead, I do most of my shopping, banking and all kinds of transactions online and to top it all, I help my son with his homework after referring to the ideas suggested by Google! I think that takes the cake! He is in 2nd grade; I should be able to help my son without having to refer to google! Come on!!
As disinterested as I was in that article I read (given my love for google), it had me thinking. Would I be able to survive if I were to lose my access to google? Would I even be able to have a decent conversation or find my way around or go out shopping or do anything for that matter were I to lose access to search engines? The answer, I learned, was quite scary!
I doubt if I would be able to even survive a day. That’s how much I depend on technology!
While technology has many advantages and benefits, it also has its downside. More and more people youngsters and the elders alike are becoming addicted to it. The dependency on it brings life to a halt the moment we lose access to it. They say that technology has made the world a smaller place and brought people closer to one another. While that is true, ironically it has also been successful in isolating people from one another! Imagine a dinner time scenario where everyone is in front of a screen with their plates instead of sitting together and eating! This list is infinite, I can probably go on and on about it. Maybe that is something I can cover in a new blog post by itself!
Coming back to my dependency on technology, it is one thing to realize that you have a problem and another to take action on it. I have realized my problem, now what do I do about it? The best thing would be to go back to basics. Give up a few things and change a few age-old habits. For one, I reduced my google usage. Whenever I come across something I am unsure of, I try hard and long to think about it, especially if it is a word I am trying to remember, I put the pressure on my brain to give me any information at all. I turn to google only when all else fails! (Of course, I will continue to use google to search for images and related to enhance my blogging!)
I also stopped using the calendar and reminder apps on my phone and have switched to a hand written planner. I am big on doing things in an organized manner, so a planner was necessary. If not an app, then the old school way it was! I got myself a fancy planner and actually started using it! And I have also reduced my dependency on GPS; I try to find my own way. Needless to say I have been getting lost on the roads quite a lot recently missing turns and taking the wrong exits. I have made the decision to use GPS only for long road trips and not for local travels. Although I am losing my way a lot, I am getting where I need to. So that’s a plus! 🙂
Slowly but steadily I will teach myself to depend only on myself rather technology!
What about you? How dependent are you on Search engines, smart phones or technology in general? Let me know in the comments, I would love to know!