Information Overload Effect on Teens

Information Overload Effect on Teens


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Smartphones, on-demand TV, the internet – these are all great inventions that provide us with a tremendous amount of benefits, but they can also cause problems. One of the problems caused by all this technology and our 24-hour society is information overload. It affects adults, but it also affects teenagers – maybe worse because they’re not always in control of the information they allow into their minds the way adults are.

  • Poor Behavior – Many teenagers end up with behavior problems because they just have too much stuff going on in their head. The noise of life never shuts up. If there isn’t an adult around who is helping them monitor their access to information (not the information itself, but the access to so much information), it can become a huge problem for them.

information overload

  • Drug Use – To regulate the feelings the overloaded teen is experiencing, they often self-medicate to try to feel better. While cannabis does have a lot of good features, the side effects on children before their frontal lobes close are not truly known. However, there is a correlation between marijuana use in teenagers and schizophrenia in young adulthood.

  • Ignore the Right Information – When too much information is thrown at someone, they will ignore or forget some of it – usually anything that comes after the first three or four parts of the information. For example, if you as a parent verbally give your teenager a list of things to do during the day, they’re likely to forget all but the first couple things you told them.

  • They Make More Mistakes – When too much information is thrown at a teenager, they tend to make more mistakes. This is due to poor filtering and the tendency to start generalizing all information as having the same importance. This can cause the teenager to not prioritize the information properly, leading to mistakes.

  • Wasting Time – Teenagers will often resort to time-wasting and stalling tactics when they’ve suffered information overload. This is just a way to try to slow down their lives so that they can process the information they already have. Sadly, they often waste their time doing things that give them more information overload, such as surfing the internet.

  • Misunderstanding Details – When a teenager receives too much information, they tend to not totally understand what is happening. They also don’t know what questions to ask, so they don’t get the details and then they make mistakes due to not having a grasp on the facts.

  • Black and White Thinking – Another symptom of information overload in teens is the inability to see the gray in the information. They see right and wrong, black and white, but not all the in-between information that sometimes is even more important to help with decision making.

  • Disorganization and Inability to Manage Time – When there is just too much going on, it’s hard to get organized for adults. It’s even harder for teenagers due to their undeveloped brain. A human’s brain isn’t fully developed until approximately 22 to 24 years of age when the frontal lobes close.

  • Inability to Set Priorities – Due to all the information hitting the teenager’s brain, it can be difficult to set priorities. They’re missing details, filtering information incorrectly, and generalizing too much – all of which keeps them from being able to set smart priorities in life.

It’s clear that information overload is a problem for almost everyone today, regardless of age. But what to do about it is the question. The ability to get information by tapping a phone is amazing and useful. But, it’s becoming clear that we need a break from the continuous bombardment of information twenty-four seven.

information overload
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