North Texas Daily

We are running on information overload

We are running on information overload

We are running on information overload
March 25
13:00 2021

Ninety percent of the world’s data was generated in two years, according to research organization SINTEF. The tragedy in that finding is it was made in 2013, when social media was the ‘Wild West’ compared to today. We live in a time ripe with easy-to-access information and technology made to empower the user with ease of use.

However, it is the simplicity of modern technology and the wealth of information that has resulted in a generation defined by information overload. Simply put, we process so much information without much regard for what we are taking in.

The brutal but obvious truth is we are hopelessly caught in a state of overstimulation. Ironically, even articles about the dangers of dopamine addiction are likely to fall on deaf ears because the risks are common knowledge – it is the internet having us in a vice grip and every attempt to do something about it feeds to the problem.

The solution is simple: do nothing.

For college students, being in the know all day, every day seems to be a necessity in ensuring academic success so the idea of simply doing nothing is terrifying. Not doing work or filling their day with some kind of noise could be overwhelming. With countless assignments on the horizon, too many internship applications to count and being in a perpetual state of anxiety, it is very easy to mistake the lack of noise or stimulation for being simply left out.

The opposite is true, however. Leaving your mind to roam without the reliable distractions of social media can go a long way in clearing some mental fogginess. Being left to one’s own devices can lead to thinking of breakthroughs and innovative ways to tackle the tasks of their week, according to an article by SCL Health.

We know more information is being generated right now that would take millions of lifetimes to digest. Being in the know in current events, entertainment, pop culture or really anything is a futile effort. Today’s definition of staying current focuses more on how much information your brain can retain instead of what is being retained.

It is an arbitrary battle that almost always leads to unhappiness and a lack of satisfaction. To be in the moment, appreciating the here and now for a few minutes daily can do wonders for our mental and emotional healths. What we put in our media diets means more than ever. Not only will it affect the way we see the world, but it can shape how we go about our friendships and relationships.

As college students, the last thing we need is to be emotionally absent during the most consequential time of our lives. We are not going to improve our brainpower by doing more, but rather put more focus on the things that truly matter.

The overflowing of information causes us to be more callous and numb to emotional events. There is bound to be emotional disconnection when one encounters national tragedies and proceeds to scroll down to the next shiny object instead. It also does not help when news of moral crises depress viewers rather than encourage social change, according to Princeton University’s Department of Psychology. Paradoxically, our mental and emotional well-beings veer to what we see on our phones, which itself is shaped by our preferences. It is a cycle of unsatisfaction, dense with material that ultimately does little for our betterment.

Because we are in constant danger of our brains going haywire, the idea of taking a few moments of our day to disconnect should not feel diabolical. Whether it be journaling your thoughts, meditating or taking a walk, it is essential in relieving ourselves of these digital burdens. Knowledge is indeed power but too much of it is making us colder, indifferent and depressed. The virtue of doing nothing is more vital than ever.

Featured Illustration by J. Robynn Aviles

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Kevin Diaz

Kevin Diaz

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