People’s preoccupation with their screens has been blamed for many things and if you’ve been around someone who kept sneaking peeks while talking you know how annoying that is.
But did you know it messes up not only your brain, but also your capacity for connection, friendship, empathy, as well as your actual physical health?
Texting even messes up your infant’s future!
New parents may need to worry less about genetic testing and more about how their own actions — like texting while breast-feeding or otherwise paying more attention to their phone than their child — leave life-limiting fingerprints on their and their children’s gene expression.
It’s not just a case of being distracted.
Your vagus nerve connects your brain to your heart and how you handle your social connections affects the vagal tone, which, like muscle tone, can improve with exercise and that, in turn, increases the capacity for connection, friendship and empathy.
In short, the more attuned to others you become, the healthier you become, and vice versa. This mutual influence also explains how a lack of positive social contact diminishes people. Your heart’s capacity for friendship also obeys the biological law of “use it or lose it.” If you don’t regularly exercise your ability to connect face to face, you’ll eventually find yourself lacking some of the basic biological capacity to do so.
Do I think this research will actually make a difference in people’s actions?
Even if the information becomes widespread I don’t think people would give up the instant gratification of being mentioned or conquer their FOMO and focus instead on quality face time.
It doesn’t seem a big deal right now, but look into the future at a world that doesn’t just lack connection and empathy, but is filled with people who aren’t even capable of it.
I’m glad I won’t be around.
One last item; a short essay that says better than I have in the past exactly why I don’t carry a cell phone. Enjoy!
Flickr image credit: Digitpedia Com