The ongoing creation of Web 2.0 has transformed the average internet denizen into a strange hybrid of producer and consumer. Everyone is now a ‘prosumer‘, and this new role is apparently very addictive. Social media pushes its users into states of continued stimulus and communication, with a system that rewards obsessively-frequent checking and updating. Enterprising scientists are tracking the effects of social media on the human brain and human behavior. They’ve begun to notice some interesting trends in the way users become distracted, self-promoting, and even drugged by the experiences on Web 2.0. Singularity Hub is proud to present an exclusive infographic on How Social Media Is Ruining Our Minds, produced by Assisted Living Today Assisted Living Facilities. Even the most predictable and accepted of the changes created by internet use could have profound effects on society as the pull of online communication grows stronger every day.

The debate on whether online communication is hampering or enhancing the human mind has been ongoing during the opening of the 21st Century. Certainly one would guess that, like so many technologies before it, social media will both provide advantages and demand some sacrifices from its users. Multitasking across social networks allows those plugged in to have a rapid response to trends, and possibly find opportunities faster in the emerging market. That same multitasking can cause users to become distracted, with minds halfway in the digital realm even when trying to focus on other tasks. Wherever the balance is struck between risk and benefit for social media it seems apparent that the impact on the brain is profound, rapidly onsetting, and growing. It takes just hours of regular online activity before scientists can detect changes in the mind, and those changes are only going to increase as people spend more time on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Billions more people around the globe will gain regular internet access in upcoming decades so it’s likely that these newly perceived trends are going to become a nearly universal part about what it means to be human in the 21st Century. Perhaps that change is fitting. The human brain was so instrumental in the engineering of the internet, it only seems fair that the internet is ready to return the favor.

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[Graphic created by Assisted Living Today Assisted Living Facilities]