I often hear people say that technology has lowered the level of human intelligence. Researchers say that because of social media and the fact that people are overloaded with information on the internet, young people are less able to concentrate on one thing at a time, and this has affected the way they learn.
It is said that even though technology has made access to information much easier for people (which can be helpful if used correctly), the ease with which we are now able to access information has lowered people’s ability to carefully go through and understand what they read, and discriminate between sources of information on the internet.
So, as a way of investigating the effect of social media on myself, I decided, at the beginning of the year, to drastically cut down my use of technology, specifically my use of social media. I wanted to see what effect this would have on my ability to learn both in and outside of the classroom.
I must first point out that even before deciding to cut down my use of it, I was never an excessive user of social media. My social media usage was mostly made up of sharing quotes from books, sharing articles I read, checking my timeline for news updates, or talking to friends. So, when I decided to cut down the amount of time I spent on social media, I didn’t think it would have a huge impact on my day to day living.
I did hope it would improve my marks though. When I began the challenge, my marks were, if anything, very average. Like every other student I know, I did well enough in class to pass and never concerned myself with doing anything beyond that. So, when I took up the challenge, I did it not only so I could be better able to get a better understanding of the work I was doing in class, but also to change my attitude towards my school work and hopefully improve my mark.
The task of improving my marks was going to be difficult, mainly because the type of degree I’m doing has a lot of complicated work, but I knew it was possible. So, to complete the challenge, I deleted and deactivated all my social media profiles and remained with only one: WhatsApp.
As soon as I cut down my social media use, I found I had more time to properly go through my work and get a better understanding of it – I was no longer distracted by having to constantly go on social media or answer multiple people at the same time. This meant that, no matter how much work I was presented with in class, the extra time I had from cutting down my social media use allowed me the chance to go through it multiple times. This improved my marks dramatically. And what was more surprising was that, instead of improving with single digits, my marks went up by at least 10%. I was amazed at how much time I had because I no longer had social media distracting me.
Over the past couple of years, researchers and academics have always told students that they needed to embrace the technology that comes from the fourth industrial revolution, mainly because they believed it has the ability to make their lives better. But, what these students were never told was how this very same technology that they were told to embrace could reduce their ability to learn if they do not use it correctly. As a result, students don’t use it to its full potential, and often misuse it as well.
Technology, like many other things, is only useful for those who know how to use it properly.
For many young people, a cell phone, for example, is only useful for texting, going on social media, and calling, when in actual fact it could be used for many other things. Cell phones, especially these modern ones with big display screens, can be used for more many creative and educational activities. You can use it for reading books, writing, creating visual and audio content, and more.
Because I cut down my use of social media, I found other ways of using my cell phone. I ended up reading more from it and, sometimes, writing parts of my assignments on it. I learned its true potential, and I still use it that way.
I am going to continue with this challenge in the next semester, and hopefully this academic year will be the best one I’ve had so far. It’s true, the fourth industrial revolution is wonderful, but it can only be that way for people who know how to use it correctly.
Tell us: how hard would it be for you to give up social media? How do you think it would affect your life?