Makiah Belk- Blog Post One

There’s an inescapable feeling of lurk—that something outside of awareness is occurring —within the minds of anyone caught in the web of cyber dependency. It’s gone long unnamed and unrecognized, especially by those knee-deep in the thick mud of complacency or disregard such as myself. This week’s readings brought the beast directly to our faces, shifting the question from one of “what exactly is happening by using the Internet so frequently” to one of “is cyber dependency a convenient transition into the future or detrimental to the brain and the body?” This shift in inquisition comes to the forefront of the mind specifically when reading Katherine Hayle’s essay Hyper and Deep Attention: The Generational Divide in Cognitive Modes in which she seemingly addresses not only the hard issues, as This Is How The Internet Is Rewiring Your Brain does, but rather allows the reader to note possible panaceas to inevitable functionality, educational, and generational implications. The idea behind this concept of cyber dependency is easily recognized as a personal one, seeing as unless you live off the grid, everyone is to some extent exposed to the need of technology. However, what made this issue most pressing and most personal for me was the realization that this concept could be the underlying issue behind some of my most recent inquiries. “Why can’t I seem to focus on one task without flipping to another?” or “why has my attention span for reading eBooks or articles become higher than reading paper novels?” are both questions that I cannot disregard when reading about this notion of technological immersion. While the article This Is How The Internet Is Rewiring Your Brain suggests that this technological crutch of sorts is negatively affecting the physical body unsettling, the scientific backing and concrete information about intangible ideas adds a sort of comfort or security all its own. Yet further research or query disrupts that comfort, posing only more questions. How is digital music being readily available affecting the body? How is a technology consumed learning style beneficial or detrimental? To what extent will this grow before regulation needed?

About Makiah Belk

Study of the Americas
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2 Responses to Makiah Belk- Blog Post One

  1. Emily Bedsole says:

    I agree with a number of ideas mentioned in this post. I especially think that classifying cyber dependency as a personal concept is an interesting notion. Although nearly everyone is somehow connected to media today, there is definitely a spectrum of how engaged people perceive themselves to be. Someone like Makiah or myself may use media technology on smart phones and laptops around the clock, but not feel like it is inhibiting concentration at all. Others, however, may engage in the same platforms significantly less, but feel like they are being much more affected. I would be very interested to read the results of a survey that compares individuals’ amount of media use with their perceived level of cyber dependency. The results would be more qualitative than quantitative, which means that they would not give a foolproof answer to Makiah’s question, “is cyber dependency a convenient transition into the future or detrimental to the brain and body?” However, the results could potentially show the level of cyber dependency with which people feel comfortable, which may indicate on a larger scale the number of people who believe cyber dependency is a positive versus negative trend.

  2. Krista Harder says:

    When thinking about media, I almost never remember to include music in my definition, and yet it has an almost constant presence—like that “inescapable feeling of lurk” that you mention (which, by the way, is such an on-point way to describe what it feels like to live with this unceasing flow of technology). If I’m working on homework, my headphones act as an IV that supplies my brain with a steady stream of sound. If I take a walk or go for a run, artists like Lily Allen and Blue October come with me. Music fuels and changes both my moods and my thoughts. It’s literally someone else’s voice almost continually in my ear, and until you mentioned the question of digital music at the end of your blog post, it never really occurred to me that this too could potentially be changing my brain. Music is such an integral part of our cultural, but is the nonstop supply of it altering us physically and mentally?

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