We spend hours scrollin the tape of social networks with pictures of people who, we think, do better and live more interesting. Neglected sleep to “get stuck” in YouTube. Even trying to remember the name of the movie, and immediately looking for it in Google. And not trying to deal with the route and to mark the way, and go on the Navigator. Our children often get into the hands of your tablet or smartphone in two-three years. How does all this affect mental health and cognitive abilities? Collected abstracts of studies on this topic.

Whether to give a three year old tablet? A five-year old?

Your tablet or smartphone in the hands of a preschooler, much less a first grader is no surprise. In elementary school teachers often create class groups in social networks or chat messengers, where you upload photos from a trip or training materials. At this time in the Western press regularly there are stories about employees of Silicon valley that do not allow children to use the gadgets and give them to the schools where the screens are prohibited until a certain age. Even Steve jobs, founder of Apple, said that limiting the use of devices.

A group of scientists from Canada have found that the more time children aged two to three years spend in front of the screen (talking about screen time in General — watching TV, games on your tablet or smartphone), the worse the evolving to five years. The researchers examined data on 2441 child. At first they interviewed parents about how much time their children spend with the device, and then conducted comprehensive psychological testing. It turned out that every additional hour a day in front of the screen, reduces the test results by 6-8%. Moreover, the effect is not immediately, but after a year or three. Children, many sitting with the gadgets in two years, worse coped with the tasks at the age of three. And those who sat with them in three years, coped worse with tests in five years.

In fairness, the article with the caveats that the scientists did not divide the content into useful and not useful. They took into account only the screen time, not given that the baby consumes — educational games or just fun. How many hours a child spends with the tablet or the TV reported parents — they could overstate or understate performance.

And there is another study that shows that the assessment of children in itself the time not connected. It is important that the child involved. Passive television viewing is associated with worsening grades in school, as well as linguistic and mathematical abilities. Video games prevent to concentrate on their studies and also associated with a decrease in academic performance.

In favor of the schools, restricting children in the use of gadgets, says a study where the authors found that information is better remembered when you read it from a sheet of paper. The experiment involved 72 students tenth-grade schools in Norway. They were divided into two groups. In one, the participants read two texts at 1400-2000 words in print. Another on the computer. Those who read the paper, remembered more details. The fact that sight-reading gives not only visual but also the sensory experience, conclude the authors, it helps to remember better. If you’ve read several times the text on the computer screen, then you know that, most likely, the faster everyone will learn by reading the paper.

Also “plus” schools without gadgets UCLA study. Here it is, however, about the emotional sphere and not on mathematical abilities. Ten-year-old children who spent five days in nature without access gadgets, there was an improvement of empathy — the ability to read the emotions of people as in real life, so in the video. Children who are not deprived of smartphones, have not shown such improvements.

Okay, Google. Think about it instead of me

20 years ago the Internet was not in every house, and the little engines that could. If we wanted to tell friends about the half-forgotten film, I had to strain to remember the name. Today, we often do not try to think, and from searching in Google.

One of the most famous studies on the subject of how search engines affect our thinking and memory, was published in the journal Science. This work gave us the term “Google effect”. The experiment participants had to remember information from different inputs, one of which will have access, and one that then could not be found. It turned out, if the subject knew that the data he will be able to find online, I remember them worse than if they thought the information was deleted.

In this study, not the conclusion that people lose their ability to remember. It is only about mindset change — now we just don’t bother. The information which were previously stored in the head, is outsourced to a contractor search website. Moreover, scientists at Yale University have found that people do not share what they know, and that knows the Internet. Those who often use Google, tend to believe that they are smarter than you really are.

“The Google effect” may “pump up” your confidence in your own mental abilities. But he will take it away you pleasant memories. Study participants the University of Pittsburg was sent to the Museum and there were divided into two groups. The first was to photograph each piece. The second is simply to observe. As a result, those who have removed, remember less artifacts and items than those who watched. Think about it, when you catch yourself on the fact that during the tour in a new city have already made hundreds of photos.

The fact that we are inattentive to what is around us, when focused on one task. Services assistants to “take” so much attention that he does not have the resources to see all around. “Our research has shown that when we focus on how to follow the route on the Navigator, with a high probability we do not observe other hazards around us on the road — approaching motorbike or a pedestrian. Even if we watch where you are going,” explains Professor Neely Lavi from the University of California.

We always remember about the smartphone

This study by researchers from the University of Texas shows that the concentration decreases, even if the smartphone is turned off, but is within reach. The experiment involved 800 students. They were asked to pass a series of tests on the computers. These tests measured cognitive ability, namely the ability to store and process information, and required high concentra -. Participants were divided into groups. The first was to translate the smartphone to silent mode and put it on the table. Second — put it in your pocket or bag. Others to carry to another room. In the end, the participants, whose phone was in the other room, coped with the tests significantly better than those who kept them on the tables. And slightly better than the subjects who put the gadgets in your pocket or in a bag.

The mere presence of a smartphone lowers the concentration and cognitive ability, even when people think that paying attention to the task. “You don’t consciously think about the smartphone, but the process, when you force yourself not to think about something that “takes” you have part of limited cognitive resources. This brain drain,” says Adrian ward, co-author of the study.

Smartphones cause depression? Or they comfort people?

People with depression use a lot of gadgets, according to the findings in numerous studies on the connection of mental illness with a digital addiction. But not enough to reveal the relationship, it is important to understand: what comes first? Someone’s not okay, and so spends half a day on the Internet? Or that someone is not right because of the influence of the gadget is?

Here the researchers found that adolescents 14-17 years, carried out with smartphones for more than seven hours a day, often manifested in depression and anxiety than their peers who used them less than an hour a day. Children “hanging” half in smartphones, the harder it is to find a common language with their peers. It was explained that the social network negative impact on the mental health of girls.

However, Andrew Przybylski, psychologist, researcher, digital health, analyzed data in this study and criticized it. He found that, “based on the same set of data, potato consumption causes symptoms of depression with the same frequency as the use of social networks, and listening to music — in 13 times more often.”

Research on the topic of “which came first”, really, is not so numerous. The existing database is still insufficient to clearly answer this question. But now scientists from the University of Arizona aimed to find out what comes first — the depression or the digital addiction? Chose the 346 respondents aged 18 to 20 years, explaining that “late adolescents” who grew up on smartphones, can be a relevant group. The experts came to the conclusion that, rather, digital dependence the primary. “Addiction to smartphone predicted subsequent symptoms of depression, — says head of the research group Matthew Lapierre. — People are too attached to him. Worry if it’s not on hand, and used to the detriment of their daily lives.”

Social networks and stress. What makes us sad

The American Academy of Pediatrics in 2011 called “Facebook depression” phenomenon, when children and adolescents spend a lot of time in social networks, which they manifest symptoms of depression. The term is not intended to be medical. Rather, included a description of dissatisfaction with life.

Experts from the University of Lancaster David Baker and Dr. Guillermo Perez Algorta examined studies conducted in 14 countries with over 35 thousand participants at the age from 15 to 88 years to understand the causes of this condition. And found that mostly harms us in the process of comparing yourself with others not in their favor. People experience dissatisfaction and begin to ponder too much, they have obsessive thoughts.

Most of all we harm: envy when viewing other people’s posts; the adoption of “friends” of former partners; the comparison is not in their favor; frequent negative thoughts on the page. According to these findings, women and men with neurotic warehouse person more prone to what is called “Facebook depression.” But it clarifies that online activity can help people with real depression, if they use social networks to obtain social support.

Australian researchers offered the participants of the experiment — 138 active users — to give up Facebook for five days. Their goal was to find out whether the decline in their stress levels. The subjects were divided into two groups — some went on a five-day “Facebook detox”, the second continued to use the social network as before. Health and cortisol levels in the saliva of the subjects was measured before and after the experience. As a result, those who refused the social network, decreased the stress hormone, but what happened to those who did not change users ‘ habits. At the same time people from the first group was initially displeased with them of the dropped role, and feel isolated from society.

Why are we so much sit in social networks?

It’s not the social network taught us to compare ourselves with other people and worrying on the theme “better me” — as people always did. It isn’t the service we hoisted the bad news — we have always been interested in what causes strong emotions. But this popular service is designed to “tighten” we head. As a result, we hours considered “more successful people” and read the bad news. That is, we treat ourselves to an overdose that increases our stress levels. And we neosapien because of social media. The decrease in the number of hours of sleep is their main negative trait (according to the National sleep Foundation of the United States, we should not sleep less than seven hours per day), according to the latest report by analyst Mary Meeker. With each passing year, fewer people think the Internet is good for society (and 70% in 2018, and four years ago, it was 88%). But paradoxically we spend more and more time online. The average American is already spending on the Internet 6.3 hours per day. It seems that the sites closer to perfection is to keep users online.

Along with this comes more stories from the developers of the technology companies who are criticizing the site for what they are “hooked” on users. A former employee of Google and Facebook Justin Rosenstein bought a new iPhone and has instructed his assistant to set parental controls to prevent the download of any application. Rosenstern — Creator of the “like” in Facebook. Today he compares likes with flashes of pseudodementia that train keep people in social networks. By the way, in the Wake of public awareness of the problem, Facebook and Instagram began testing the “hide likes”.

Tristan Harris, programmer, “the conscience of Silicon valley,” as journalists, in 2013, being a developer at Google, sent out to colleagues a Manifesto with ideas about responsibility to the users and respect their time. After that, it — no, not called to the leadership with a proposal to quit — appointed philosopher of the product. But in 2015 he left the Corporation and founded a non-profit organization Time Well Spent (“time Well spent”). Harris advises companies that want to build services with respect to users. His main thesis of today’s popular social networks and services are not offered to us to freely choose “How I want to spend the time?” They manipulate, not to let us go in offline or on other sites. “Netflix, YouTube or Facebook automatically reproduce the next video, and don’t wait until you make a conscious choice (if you do)” is an example of it.

Harris has an interesting life hack to combat digital addiction — he advises to set the monochrome screen on the smartphone. In this mode, all displayed in black and white — this reduces the attractiveness of photos and videos in social networks. So you, as planned, will be less to scroll tape. On iOS devices, the monochrome mode can be enabled in the settings (“Settings” — “Universal access” — “the Display and the text size” — “Filters”).

Social networks remind myself of the endless notifications. “Left Nancy, she’s working on a paper right John. He recalls: “before I forget, you need to ask Nancy the document!” Sends a message and switches its attention. We are constantly switching attention to each other and pay a high price for it. Every time we come off on this message, we require an average of 23 minutes to re-focus,” explained Harris at TED.

This problem is solved simply due to the different architecture of the site. Because of the notification might not pop up on the screen. “But the interruption is useful for business, says Tristan Harris. — To enhance the sense of urgency and social reciprocity, for example, Facebook automatically informs the sender when you saw his message. And you feel obligated to answer.” In General, the courts want us to do an inordinate amount of attention and involvement it is sure Harris, his supporters and other neo-Luddites has emerged from technochocolate. Want more than we can give them without harm to our well-being.

Anastasia Stepanova

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