The age of technology. It's a great and convenient thing, but it does take a toll on our brains in many different ways. Long-term memory loss, lower reading comprehension, and less attention span are only a few of the negative side effects you can experience by putting your complete faith in Google. In fact, it really can drive down those IQ points.
1. Long-Term Memory Loss
Think about it. Thanks to Google, you don't really have to remember much of anything. Questions are answered at the drop of a hat because the Google god is all-knowing! Is that a good thing, though? People aren't digging through their brains anymore to find answers nor are they flexing those long-term memory muscles nearly as much as they were pre-internet.
Here's the good news: you can still exercise your long-term memory by simply thinking before you Google. Dig through that brain to find the answers from time-to-time, then if you're really in a pickle, turn to the omnipotent. If you don't want to go down that road, you can search Google for some memory games to play. Turn Google into an asset instead of an enemy.
2. Getting Sidetracked too Easily
If you read a long article, you are likely clicking on every link imaginable whenever you have a question. All in all, you aren't sitting and reading from beginning to end without a distraction, and Google is to blame. Google gives us bite-sized articles that keep our interest for a very short amount of time and also gives us links on related topics to keep us clicking. It's like running after every single shiny object you come across.
One way to curb this behavior is to either pick up a book or instill the rule that you're not allowed to go into a clicking frenzy until you finish your objective. After your reading is done, then go exploring rather than throwing that time out the window and not completing what you read.
3. Lower Reading Comprehension
Along with clicking your heart out, you aren't absorbing the information that's displayed in front of you. Chances are you have eight other windows open, and you're likely skipping and skimming around the text to get it over with. Would you be able to recite the plot of a story better when you have to deal with scrolling, distractions, pop-ups, and even potential sounds from your computer, or from a book in your hand? The answer is pretty obvious.
If you are a die-hard Google fan that will not release the iron grip you have on your computer, make the experience as much like reading a book as possible. It's easy to take text and turn it into a non-moving or sound producing PDF. Turn the speakers off and get down to business. You'll be amazed how much more you take away at the end of the day.
4. Less Patience
Google gives us what we want, and we want it now. Everything is instant. In fact, if we have to wait for even a handful of minutes for anything, we start losing our minds. This notion of instant gratification carries through to many other aspects of our lives, too, like when we go out to eat, drive in traffic, or even deal with workplace mishaps. Google gives us an unrealistic standard when it comes to turnaround times.
Instead of using Google to lessen your anger threshold, try Googling some mindful meditations. Focus on your breath and realize everything doesn't have to move at lightening speed. You can actually listen to some peaceful spa or meditation music on your Pandora, too!
5. Not Tapping Into Your Thoughts
When you are catching up with some of your Google reading, you are putting your trust in Google's hands. Do you ever find yourself changing your opinion or not arguing the words of Google? You just trust what the page says because the internet is saying it. Not always a good idea.
As you would debate the opinion of a peer or friend, you should also debate the words of Google. Keep in mind, a human just like you had to post it. There isn't this divine Google entity that just knows all. Sites like Wikipedia or Reddit are the top offenders. Always keep your critical thinking pants on and never blindly trust Google's text.
6. Math Becomes Obsolete
Remember how your teacher would say you need to learn math because you won't have a calculator on you? Yeah, thank you tech age (smug grin). You have a calculator everywhere! Heck, temperature, measurement, and time converters are only a click away! Who needs math in this modern era?
That's just the thing: math is sometimes a good thing to tap into. It doesn't look super great to bust out your iPhone on the go for a single-digit multiplication problem. Math skills suffer because of the convenience. Try to hone your mind into the old times every now and then. Maybe even use the (many) converters to help you learn how all these variables relate to each other rather than simply typing them in. Math is not the enemy!
7. Overspending Money
Let's face it: those ads and shopping site are hard to resist. It's okay; you're human. But Google makes it way too easy to blow our savings faster than The Flash can run across the state of California (and that's fast). The worst part is, we don't actually see our money leaving our wallet, so when it adds up, it compounds hard.
Not to say you should stop your online spending, but you can be more vigilant about it. Keep either a notepad or an Excel spreadsheet open and record what you bought, how much it cost, and when you bought it every time you shop. Soon you'll realize that 20 dollars here and there really starts to add up.
8. Wasting Time
Be honest, how much time are you spending on Google every day? Whether you're doing research for your own personal needs, buying clothing, or writing a research paper, we all spend a ton of time on the trusty internet. Are we always being efficient with this time? Probably not. Especially when we're trying to retrace our steps after losing an important web page.
If you haven't utilized Google Drive, you should. Keep spreadsheets, text docs, PDFs, slideshows, and even recordings exactly where you can easily find them. Keep a running list of websites you know you'll revisit or type notes you know you'll utilize down the road. If you're going to spend a ton of time with Google, you might as well have your ducks in a row, right?
Are We Getting Stoopid?
Overall, things are different these days than when they were during the decades sans internet. Yes, there are noticeable negative side effects because of the Google invasion, but you don't have to fall into that trap. Whether you utilize brain exercises, meditate, or keep running lists, you can overpower these brain-draining effects. Stay sharp and don't let yourself become imprisoned doing the Google god's bidding.