The digital era, i.e. the time we live, is characterised based on various criteria. The main one, modern technology, plays a vital role in accelerating and deepening society’s knowledge acquisition, thereby significantly influencing its development. As a person born in the late 1980s, I feel safe and confident using technology, but is that true and how much of an impact has it had on my personality?
Recently, I was discussing with my sister, who already belongs to a different generation than me, how our grandmother, born in 1944, feels in today’s world. As a young woman, she made a living by herding cows. She washed laundry in the stream and lit a candle at home until she was twenty. Nowadays, she uses a mobile phone and has a video call with me every week. Her life represents not only the swift shift of society in the use of technology but also the fact that we become test beads of our discoveries. We introduce technologies that impact our work and functioning as a society and our personality.
Personality consists of a person’s stable tendencies associated with motivational, emotional, and cognitive domains that change over time and across situations. Our personality develops mainly during adolescence and changes based on the influence and stimulus we receive. In recent years, it has been shown that modern technology, especially the Internet, affects our development more than we expected. Jim Taylor in Psychology Today said:
“There is … little doubt that all of the new technologies, led by the Internet and digital technology, are shaping the way we think in ways obvious and subtle, deliberate and unintentional, and advantageous and detrimental.”
Even though we were at the beginning of this research, we can already identify several areas in which the Internet affects children’s development: communication, attention, decision-making, and building relationships or memory. According to a study by Microsoft Corporation, most people hold their attention for an average of eight seconds, which is a consequence of the negative effect of digitisation on our brains. Is it long enough? When I was a child, we were told at school that a goldfish could remember a maximum of 5 seconds. I don’t know how it is with memory, but it can concentrate on one thing for nine seconds, which is more than the average person… Humanity, the “masters of creation”, you should do something about it.
Despite these facts, we continue to expose our children to social networks such as TikTok, which, based on an exact algorithm, supports future generations in that what is short and striking is immediately worth attention. Try watching stories, shorts, TikTok, reels… and find yourself scrolling for tens of minutes without the possibility of stopping your desire to see another video. Is it the problem only for children who are in mental development? The Internet changes our personality. It won’t make us a worse or better person. Still, it will affect how we live our lives: Changing our personal communication to sending sms, Meeting new people in a bar or at a concert to chat via Tinder, and Limiting our memory because we have everything on our phones. This may be the next stage of our evolution or the decline of our civilisation, but we will still have to devote a lot of research to it.