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Distracted? Here is how the Internet is changing your brain (Infographic)

Distracted? Here is your brain on the internet.

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Distracted? 7 Ways the Internet is Changing Our Brains

The Internet is a marvelous thing. Games, vast information, shopping, friends, medical advice: all at our fingertips. But how has constant access to the Internet and its technology changed our brains?

1. We Experience FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out. (13,14)


Percentage of social network users who experience anxiety when unable to access their profiles (1)

4 in 10

Percentage of 13- to 67-year-olds who say social media has increased their fear of missing out (2)

2. Our Sleep Patterns Are Worse. (13,14)


Percentage of people using a tech device in the bedroom before bedtime(3)


Percentage of users who report at least one sleep problem a few times per week (3)


Percentage of users who report surfing the Internet while awake at night due to sleep problems (3)

3. Our Attention Span Is Waning. (13,14)

Human attention span (4)

Year: Seconds

2000: 12

2013: 8

That’s 1 second shorter than the attention span of a goldfish. (4)

4. So Is Our Impulse Control. (13,14)

Impulse control disorder (ICD) is now a bona fide psychiatric issue.

In a study of 10,000 people 18 years of age or older, 7.3% showed symptoms of a chronic ICD problem. (5)

Symptoms of ICD(6)

  • Uncontrollable urge to buy/steal/lie
  • Aggression
  • Irritability
  • Lack of patience
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Obsessive thoughts
  • Social isolation
  • Depression

5. We’re More Creative! (13,14)

Just look at all we have created thanks to the wonders of the Internet:

There are over 3 million apps. (7)

300 hours of YouTube videos are uploaded every minute. (7)

Millions of Instagram photos are posted every day. (7)

500 million Tweets are posted every day. (7)

The Web allows us to collaborate and share ideas.

Writers, artists, musicians and inventors all have sites to showcase their talents to the world. (8)

6. But Our Memory Is Suffering. (13,14)

In a memory study of two age groups, 87% of those over 50 could remember standard personal information. Only 40% of those under 30 could do so, having to reach for their phones to find the answer. (9)

Immediate access to Google searches contributes to a lack of information retention.


Google searches made per second, which is about 3.5 billion per day. (10)

7. We Might Be Addicts. (13,14)

1 in 8

Americans who suffer from problematic Internet use (11)


Percentage of new cases of sex addiction attributed to widespread sexual content that is now available on mobile devices (11)

5 million

Approximate number of children addicted to online gaming (12)



1. http://www.prnewswire.com

2. http://www.adweek.com

3. http://sleepfoundation.org

4. http://advertising.microsoft.com

5. http://healthresearchfunding.org

6. http://www.pineyridge.net

7. http://www.theguardian.com

8. http://www.pickthebrain.com

9. http://archive.wired.com

10. http://www.internetlivestats.com

11. http://netaddiction.com

12. http://internetaddictiondisorder.org

13. http://www.onlinecollege.org

14. http://mashable.com

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