|Type of paper:||Book review|
|Categories:||Information technologies Social media|
In the book, Susan Greenfield recognises that the research on the impacts of the digital technology on the mind of the human beings is still in its early stages and that the screen activities such as the gaming, social networking as well as surfing have been reported to have both good and bad impacts. Fundamentally, Susan's remit throughout the boom is to investigate whether these technologies have been scientifically proven to have these impacts on the cognitive functioning of human beings. In the book, Susan mentions that he is eliminating the effects of the internet pornography. This is based on the fact that the controversy and the debate regarding pornography are obviously not substantially about the positives or the negatives on individual thinking, but majorly on the legislation. In my opinion, however, this is not true because numerous scientific studies have linked pornography to changes in the original thought processes, beliefs and practices that are related to the brain function.
A closer look at the book would reveal that Greenfield is a lucid and thorough communicator. Through this, even people without the knowledge of neuroscience can easily access and understand it better. The occasional use of cliches ensures that the reader is driven across the book. She asserts, "It is hard to separate the chicken from the egg", "wine, women and song" and "what's not to like". In fact, the scientific explanations she gives are rarely complicated as she claims that the blood supplies more oxygen to the brain during the exercise. It can be readily understood that exercise comes with a lot of demand to the body organs such as the heart and the brain. The increased heartbeat increases the blood flow to the brain.
The Mind Change is a fascinating book as it dramatically explains the impact that social networking sites have on the users. The research has shown that there is an excellent association between having a massive number of Facebook friends and feeling lonely. It implies that individuals with the low esteem may destroy their respect further in the attempt of revealing the negative traits as opposed to the good ones. These ultimately lead to fewer "likes". A number of the teenagers would, therefore, resort to provide false information regarding their details on Facebook, meaning that there are more significant implications for identifying as well as the meaningful relationships. Greenfield further acknowledges that various elements such as envying, insecurity and narcissism abound. Notably, a reassurance provided in person or through a phone call communication contributes to a reduction in the level of stress hormone cortisol and the rise in the level of the bonding hormone oxytocin. Contrary, a similar or somewhat same reassurance delivered through instant messaging has no significance at all. In my view, the video games highly contribute to a surge in the brain dopamine which is tremendously similar to what is observed in the drug abuse as well as the excess gaming associated with attention problems. In an attempt to illustrate more about the topic she is discussing, her point of view is reflected, for example, in the studies that show that teachers have observed the decline in the student's attention spans and that they link this to the digital technologies (p. 28). In fact, he worries are further shared by the majority of the media researchers are seem tremendously reasonable the moment she expresses them in the book as part of tentative and worthy if further research.
A comprehensive explanation regarding the theme of the effects that digital devices have on the memory and learning constitutes one of the primary strengths of the book. Greenfield mentions that digital devices pose a detrimental impact on the learning abilities and the minds of individuals. She says that teachers and parents complain of the digital native's limited attention spans as well as the inability to interpret the information they copy directly from the internet. As part of the adverse effects, they become unable to connect the dots, or even transforming that information into knowledge. Besides, the digital devices lead to the distraction of the mind, hence learning poorly, which ultimately consumers a considerable amount of time. Undeniably, the book has explicitly provided greater insights regarding the impacts of digital technologies, where Greenfields recognises that these technologies have benefitted in many concepts. She is further prepared to call on the neuroscience to strengthen her argument regarding the whole idea.
While the Greenfield's book explicitly elucidates vital information about the connection of the mind and the digital devices, it has some flaws, which translate to its weaknesses. Much of the research that other researchers do not widely accept Greenfield subjects to the discussion. In the book, for example, she cites and acknowledges the findings of Seltzer et al. (2012) that while teenager's phone calls with parents promoted to the oxytocin and cortisol level similar to those produced during interaction, there hormonal responses to texts were identical to their counterparts who did not interact at all with their parents. In fact, the inclusion of Seltzer's study to support her points separates this book from the popular works taken majorly from the behavioural research. In the same way, Greenfield's argument that screen media may be causing autism tremendously misleads the depiction of other evidence. Her presentation of other findings as she applies and cites them in the paper fails to provide the actual and broader picture. In reality, Greenfield does not clearly explain the difference between the digital technology use and the abandonment of activities.
In my view, she has been substantially careless in public with the terms "autism" and the "Autistic Spectrum Disorder". She attempts to provide a distinction between autism and the traits that constitute to autism such as the avoiding the eye contact. However, she maintains that early exposure to the media may explain the increase in cases related to the clinical autism. I believe that this argument is purely hinged on a baseless ground because the evidence she provides does not substantially demonstrate the effects of the technology sufficiently to cause the autism. These contribute to the book's significant weaknesses. In fact, the statement that she uses, in this case, could cause more harm than good through adding to a severe stigmatisation of the parents. She discusses the positives aspects of the screen use and presents a balanced perspective of the research but does not pull any punch regarding the implication of the facts.
Greenfield, S. (2015). Mind change: How digital technologies are leaving their mark on our brains. Random House Incorporated.
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