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Too Much Online Time is Bad For Your Brain

According to an article on CNN, recent study is showing that too much online time can actually change brain structure.

The study looked at college students who spent about 10 hours a day online in comparison to those who spent less than two hours a day.  The study showed that the heavy Internet users actually had different brain structures in the “thinking” part of the brain.

Research says that the constant online stimulation can activate pleasure centres in the brain, and that the brain is wired to crave the instantaneous pleasures that online multitasking can give. But, the brain also needs the downtime—the slower pace of being offline—to process and rest.

Not so surprisingly, a surplus of online time didn’t just have cognitive implications— social ramifications of spending too much time online were observed, such as not being able to properly identify the emotions of people in stories.

While it can be difficult to cut back online time, the article offers tip to help heavy online multitaskers reduce their reliance on technology, which is important for parents and children alike. These guidelines can go a long way to helping establish Online Guidelines in your home that everyone can follow.

  1. Keep track of how many hours a day that you are online.  Some studies show that students are online up to 7 hours a day! What websites do you visit?  What takes up the most time?
  2. Set some time limits—balance is key.  The article suggests no more than two hours online at a time. 
  3. Train your brain to slow down. Stare out the window, and daydream.  Pay attention to what your brain is thinking about. Try to focus on a single subject for a period of time. If you get off track, pull yourself back to the subject that you are supposed to be thinking about. 
  4. Have offline time. Set a rule in your house to have offline time where everyone puts away the gadgets and powers down.  Other studies show that being offline in the hours before bed can improve sleep.
  5. Get some exercise. Find an activity to do that takes you away from all electronics and gets your blood pumping.

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