This is Your Brain Unplugged©
Once Upon a Time
Growing up as a teenager in the early 80’s, if you would have suggested to me that I needed to “unplug”, I would have gone around the house, taking all of the power cords out of the outlets. If you are younger than 35 years old, this probably sounds crazy. But the truth is: back then, we did not have access to all of the electronic devices that we do today. There were no cell phones. Texting did not exist. There were no home computers and Facebook was not yet even a glimmer in Mark Zuckerberg’s eye — heck, he wasn’t even born yet! It was a quieter time. It was a simpler time. And without a doubt, it was a slower time.
Well…times have changed.
Fast forward 20 years when MySpace entered the scene in 2003, followed by Facebook opening to the general public in 2006. Since the beginning of the 21st century, social media has changed the way we communicate with one another. And if you’re like billions of others, you probably have a Facebook page or a Twitter account; post pictures on Instagram; and share videos on Vine. And you don’t even need a computer anymore to access social networking websites and applications. With numerous advances particularly over the last decade, social media is now available by smartphone, pad or tablet.
Human beings have fallen in love with social media. This is great news because technological advancements have made the world a smaller place, creating ways to keep us more connected than ever…or have they?
While the jury is still out on whether the general public is truly more connected because of social media or if this platform actually creates more loneliness, one thing seems to be clear: Social media is rewiring our brains and researchers say it’s not all good.
This is Your Brain Unplugged
This blog series is intended to be used as a platform to discuss the pros and cons of how social media (and the digital world in general) is affecting our brains – simply because it is. The rapid rate at which technological advancements have been made has been life-changing. And while many of those changes are positive, it’s no falsehood that our lives have become more frenzied and distracted than they were even ten years ago. The research is new; the ideas are new. And this is very exciting because through this blog and the comments you share with us, it is my hope that we can learn and grow together, building towards an informed community who understands the benefits of balancing online time with real-life activities.
What does this mean?
It means that, on average, Americans spend 75% of their lives online, watching TV and sleeping. How does this affect the brain and our lives altogether given that just 25% of our time is spent on everything else, including (but not limited to): Eating, drinking, bathing, working, education, exercising, household activities, caring for self and others, and leisure or down time.
Other Fun Facts
The average number of hours Americans have sex per year (ages 18-49) is 127 hours per year
The average number of hours Americans spends on vacation and holidays each year is 384 hours per year
If you chose to take only a portion of your online and TV time and apply it towards other real-life activities, how would you spend your time? Please share with us your ideas about off-line activities that contribute to making your brain happy!