Is Social Media Making You “Stoupid?” (Part One of Too…)

If you get distracted before finishing this article, your brain has probably been hijacked. So read on to find out what you can do about it.

I generally don’t like commercials, especially don’t like popup ads, don’t watch cable TV and barely, if ever, listen to the radio. When it comes to social media, taking the approach of some of the richest parents in the world ascribe to—limiting our children’s, and our own, usage. If many of the top technology gurus on the planet, including Bill Gates and the late Steve Jobs, sent their children to schools that didn’t utilize modern technology, there must be an extremely good reason, right?

Technology can be a wonderful thing, but it’s undeniable that it has evolved faster than human physiology can keep up with. In no time of history has the energetic stimuli we’re bombarded with changed so drastically in such a short period of time. The good part is that technology has added tremendous advancements to society. The not-so-good part is that unscrupulous people can specialize in earning extremely lucrative livings by utilizing technology to literally hypnotize the masses into certain behaviors. If this seems far-fetched, take a moment to read the highlighted article referenced above. It’s both chilling and just the tip of the iceberg.

With sniperlike accuracy, commercials aimed directly at your internet shopping and search habits are carried with you on portable devices nearly 24/7, are easily available at the touch of your fingers, and even the sound of your voice. They’re programed with notifications designed to disrupt your other thoughts and make you feel glad they did. These mechanisms can be used constructively, such as reminding people to stand up twice each hour while working, or they can be used to manipulate people into believing certain things or making purchases that aren’t in their best interest.

It’s more important now than ever to embrace the fundamental principles we were designed with. Our physical and mental makeup isn’t capable of evolving exponentially in the ways technology recently has. It’s no surprise that human minds that developed to excel at simple, yet immersive activities such as hunting and agriculture, are seeking to replace those activities with addictive, easily accessible behaviors. According to Psychology Today, in 2010 nearly 53% of men and 47% of women were already afflicted with nomophobia. No, that’s not a fear of ceramic gnomes suddenly appearing on your lawn, it’s the fear of being separated from one’s cell phone. Imagine how much those percentages have increased since then.

Arguably, since the beginning of the universe, we haven’t had this much profound change in such a short period of time. Increasingly, studies show that higher exposure to Electromagnetic Frequencies (EMFs) are especially harmful to children, whose skulls are thin enough that cellphones transmissions penetrate nearly 90% of their developing brain matter, compared to affecting 15-30% of an adult’s brain. The long term effects of thermal and EMF exposure are yet to be determined, but with drastically rising rates of brain tumors, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, early onset of Alzheimer’s, ADD/ADHD and a long list of other diseases, it’s doubtful that increased exposure to modern energy transmissions will prove beneficial to our health.

To compound matters, psychological journals report skyrocketing numbers pertaining to diagnoses of mental illness, including teen depression and suicide, linked to increased social media exposure and cellphone use. These issues are exacerbated by the decreasing levels of personal contact in social communication. When a baby isn’t given enough loving physical contact, it can literally die due to a condition called “failure to thrive.” As we mature, even though our constitutions tend to improve, emotionally we still require actual human interaction. But instead of picking up the phone or having deep conversations over coffee, people spend increasing amounts of time scanning social media feeds while becoming depressed and anxious if they don’t get enough “likes” on their own posts. Entrepreneur.com reports the average adult spends slightly over two hours everyday on social media and the average teenager (yes, this next statistic is accurate) spends an unbelievable nine hours daily on social media. That’s more time than they spend either in school or sleeping!

The result? According to Forbes, increased cell phone usage lowers our IQ by up to 15 points! This is through impairing our sleep patterns, decreasing our attention spans, and harming our social, emotional and spiritual intelligence!

Is it any wonder that both childhood and adult mental illness is significantly on the rise? I don’t know about you, but I feel a little disharmonious just thinking about this.

The brain, when bombarded with random information, disperses the energy from conscious interpretation by forming disjointed, chaotically regulated synaptic patterns. This is similar to what happens when floodwaters overrun riverbanks. Even though the river is still there beneath, the overflow has to go somewhere and ends up forming stagnant pools where insects love to breed. Each time the water rises, it reforms the terrain a little more. Unless the water level recedes, the land forms into a swampy wetland. The organisms that can exist there now are different than the ones that existed there before. In this way, conscious clarity is overrun with hypnotic suggestion.

Similarly, when the neural pathways are flooded with constant stimulation, building lasting connections becomes extremely challenging. The muddy banks, or in the brain’s case, the overloaded neural pathways, require tremendous amounts of effort to establish and maintain. Even when new patterns are formed, the next time the water rises their footprints are washed away. This continual overloading and wiping of the synaptic connections requires so much energy to manage, the brain rewires itself into an unfocused, wandering state. It reroutes those neural connections to deeper, more primitive, and less conscious areas in an attempt to guard its own functionality. This adaptive, self-protective behavior is analogous to the term: brainwashing.

Once our brain’s defenses are overrun, it becomes highly susceptible to outside influences. If you’ve ever heard someone confidently parroting what they’ve just heard from a news reporter or read from a media post, chances are this is what’s going on inside their skull. They’ve been both hypnotized and brainwashed by the media, or as I like to deem it: “mediatized.” Since emotion imprints in the brain over 100 times more effectively than rational facts, only the most shocking input is enough to force the brain to make new connections. This is why marketing uses highly emotional subjects such as fear, anger and sex to grab attention. It also explains why rational arguments are so difficult for most people to accept.

Change requires energy. But when most of the energy is supplied from an external source, our brains become dependent on it to feel balanced. Effectively, the brain becomes dependent on short term gratification behaviors, earning chemical rewards from dopamine, serotonin and tryptophan by repeatedly diving back into the chaotic streams of unrelenting stimuli. A notification pops up on the phone, and we feel a sense of excitement. We get another like on our post, and we’re satisfied for a moment. Since the unconscious mind doesn’t distinguish between good or bad, and accepts everything as fact, each meme, commercial, personal crisis, political or religious rant, text, video message, or random thought enters as pure truth. It simply doesn’t have the resources to distinguish between harmful or helpful.

Fortunately, with proper discipline and an action plan, these same principles can be used to achieve serenity, health and balance. For guidance on how to rebalance yourself, stay tuned for the next soon-to-be-published article:

Is Social Media Making You Stoupid? Part Too of Too.

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In good health,

-Dr. K

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