The Information Overload in Our Time and Its Impact on Our Children
We live in a digital age. Regardless of what you need to learn, find, or research, the information is often just a click away. Unquestionably, this technological innovation offers endless benefits.
But how do we handle information overload? And more importantly, how does it affect our children?
What is the Information Overload?
The phrase “information overload” refers to a feeling of being overwhelmed due to exposure to excessive information. The brain can only absorb and manage so much information simultaneously. As a result, constant connectivity and access to information can take a toll on us. (1)
How Does the Information Overload Affect Us?
When you receive too much information at once, it can be challenging to think clearly, make decisions, and solve problems. This, in turn, can cause you to feel frustrated, incompetent, and stressed out.
The continual barrage of information from many sources is an aspect of modern living. Most of the time, we’re good with it. However, when your brain is constantly inundated with more information than it can handle, this may lead to both mental (having too many thoughts that your brain cannot process) and digital (disorganization of your digital environment) clutter, which is frequently associated with stress and burnout.
Ongoing information stress can cause you to feel overworked, overwhelmed, and unable to rest and recuperate. It can also lead to reduced productivity and satisfaction, low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. (2)
What Effect Does Information Overload Have on Our Children?
Screen time has significantly contributed to information overload in both adults and children. For example, during the COVID-19 epidemic, we spent much more time online due to remote employment and education.
During the pandemic, approximately 90% of students worldwide could not attend school and instead pursued their education online.
The Information Overload Can Impair Mood and Mental Health
Spending excessive time on their smartphones, computers, and tablets can cause children to feel tired and overwhelmed.
Your child may become easily irritated and unable to focus on other activities or complete homework. However, research shows that non-stop connectivity may cause anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and profound feelings of isolation and loneliness. In addition, if your child spends a lot of time in front of the screen, they can easily be overwhelmed by the amount of information, affecting their sleep patterns, cognitive skills, and mental health.
Information Overload May Interfere with Sleep
Information overload can also disrupt your child’s sleep. Conversely, a well-rested child feels happier and has more energy during the day. In addition, a night’s rest provides a child’s brain with a much-needed opportunity to restore, improving the child’s mood, memory, learning, self-control, and immune system.
According to research, children who get enough sleep have better focus, attention spans, learning capacities, executive functions, and problem-solving abilities. (3)
Conversely, a persistent lack of sleep can cause problems with behavior, mood, attention, concentration, learning, and other things.
The Information Overload Can Reduce Creativity
Children who spend a lot of time in front of the screen are never bored. But on the other hand, boredom is a positive thing because it fosters creativity, originality, and imagination, allowing kids to develop new games, projects, and methods to express themselves independently. (4)
However, children are less imaginative and creative when inundated with information.
How to Help Your Child Avoid Information Overload
- Here are a few tips to help your child avoid information stress:
- Help them create a homework routine with frequent breaks.
- Limit their screen time during the day.
- Be a role model and practice digital detox yourself.
- Spend family meals without electronic devices.
- Assist them in breaking down assignments into manageable chunks.
- Practice mindfulness together.
Children’s developing brains are susceptible, so they may find it hard to deal with too much information. However, helping them manage too much information can protect your child’s growth and health.
Take care and keep healthy and positive,