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By Janneth Navarro

Is the Internet changing the human mind?

Our day to day is based on a constant state of WhatsApp, e-mails, messages, calls, notifications from endless social networks … Do not raise your hand if you do not check your mobile phone, computer or any electronic device on a daily basis! Who does not continually use social networks to maintain contact with their friends or colleagues, the GPS when you have to go to an unknown place or simply search in Google that word thatyou do not remember? Or how ironic it is to see how two people who have not seen each other for a long time, spend more time looking at their respective screens than at the person in front of them.

Internet has brought to our lives infinity of advantages which today it would be difficult to live without them. Despite this we can ask ourselves if it is true that the Internet is "killing" or worsening our brain in some way. And in case it was true, how does the Internet change our brain?

People with the passage of time and with the help of new technologies have evolved. In spite of the evolution and of the good that is Internet in many occasions, it can be thought that it influences in our brain causing that our capacity of concentration, attention and memory are deteriorated at the same time that it makes us more sedentary, vague and less creative .

According to this study, some scientists believe that the Internet is modifying our neural circuits. Nicholas Carr, an expert in information technology argues that the Internet "is eroding the ability to control our thoughts and think autonomously." Due to brain plasticity, our structures and neurons adapt to the experiences we live (including the Internet) changing both its structure and its functioning especially during the most sensitive periods of development, the first 20 years. The brain maintains a constant flow of information with the world around us. Just by playing a video, the Internet makes our visual and cerebral system do an enormous job to provide all the sensory information required. Among the main concerns that arise from the use of the Internet with our brain we find:

Constant access to information online is "atrophying" our memory. In studies like this we see how the Internet offers us attractive content and makes us feel the need to connect continuously, which can cause an overload in our working memory. To save something new in our memory, we must erase something that we had already saved, because our capacity is limited.

It seems that the Internet influences when it comes to staying focused on something or when we need to avoid distractions. Internet provides distractions quickly and efficiently, which is a big problem since we use this tool both for work and for our free time.

We can already see in this study how a greater number of neural regions involved in the processing of the reward are activated when they see some determined photos in the networks. We constantly seek positive feelings derived from the approval of others. It can even be compared to drug addiction since rewards are produced through the increase of dopamine in our brain.

The real problem is not the Internet itself, but the people who get carried away by the network, modifying their behavior, their customs and even their way of thinking. A good way to avoid the negative consequences derived from the Internet is to seek balance, not isolate yourself completely from the mobile phone but not live continuously pending each notification. It is advisable to try to disconnect on a daily basis and know how to distinguish between online and offline moments.

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