Do our brains have an on/off switch?

PR Daily published an interesting article called “This is your brain on social media”. The article discusses multi-taskers and the effect social media and technology has on the brain. As Millennials enter the workforce smartphones and the latest technology are now seen as everyday activities. Having a notification from Facebook pop up on your phone while you’re at work is not considered a distraction but, rather just a part of the routine.

I’ve always said that technology in a way has almost made things more difficult. I wouldn’t mind growing up when my parents did in the 50’s and 60’s, there was just less to worry about and to have fun I would have played baseball all day. In those times the employees at the grocery store not only checked you out but, brought the groceries to your car and put them in the trunk. And now, we have self-check out? Where we’re doing all of the work? Doesn’t seem quite right.

As discussed in the article the way the human mind functions now, is that it needs more stimulation to get the same satisfaction. It’s akin to an obese individual and food. I must confess that Biggest Loser is one of my favorite television shows. In one episode the doctor explains the disease through stimulation and satisfaction. For example, a healthy individual satisfies hunger by eating one cheeseburger while an obese individual does  not recieve the same satisfcation with just one cheeseburger. There needs to be more stimulation to create satisfaction. To create the same level of satisfaction, they need to eat 2 maybe even 3 cheeseburgers to settle their appetite. It’s the same with Millennials and technology. No longer does checking e-mail once a day satisfy our hunger to be connected. It’s a click of the hold button on our iPhone every 5 minutes to see if anything new has come up.

While I do agree that what’s being put into the u-verse is entriely too saturated for any individual to have a birdseye view of the information available, at some point we must dygress and understand that it’s happening. There is too much information. Are you going to be able to pry a Millennial’s smartphone away from them? Probably not. Will they get bored easily? Yes. It’s a part of daily life and Millennials would feel more uncomfortable if their phone were ripped away than at peace.

The key for this generation in the workplace is to understand how to reel our minds in. Gen Y will find any means possible to turn their phone on while a plane is taking off, pull a phone out under the table during an important meeting, send a text message during work hours, cry and announce to Facebook they’ve lost their phone so no one gets mad if they don’t respond to their call or text within the next 24 hours.

But, it’s more about Millennials understanding technology ettiquette and what’s appropriate. They’re going to be social and they’re going to have the latest technology on 3,4,5 or 6 different gadgets. These ARE NOT  distractions, however. If Millennials are aware of their end goals at work and what they need to produce, they will find a way to integrate techology while still being a productive employee. If they don’t, it means they probably wouldn’t have been successful in the role regardless of their involvement in technology. If you’re talking to your boss? You probably shouldn’t pull your phone out if it buzzes. If you’re on a conference call? You should probably be looking at the PowerPoint slides rather than surfing Facebook. Millennials must be respectful of the environment around them but, depleteing technology use is not the answer. It’s knowing how to integrate.

 Millennials brain’s no longer have an on and off switch. It’s a power button. And ask yourself, how often do you press the power button on your phone to turn it off?

Our brains are always on. Technology is always on.


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