Parenting Basics: Information Overload

Parenting Basics Series
Geoffrey M. Gluckman, MSc

Never has humanity had access to so much information. Digital devices deliver this to each and everyone of you on a second by second basis. For the most part it is a positive aspect of these devices (for possible dangers see article posted 6 December 2017).
However, too much information presents other challenges, especially for young and developing minds.
According to neurosurgeon Dr. Mark McLaughlin, too much information may affect your perception of self-control and thus become a negative stressor. Other researchers question whether the human mind has an unlimited capacity for keeping the information that it gathers.
The American Psychological Association states that too much multitasking may cause a drop in productivity, up to as much as forty percent.

What are the symptoms of “information fatigue syndrome” (a term coined by British psychologist Dr. David Lewis)?
>excess mental fatigue
>increased nervousness/anxiety
>low attention span
>distracted and/or poor concentration

The loss of the ability to concentrate often leads to a fragmented daily existence.
Information overload becomes much worse in an individual who has poor neurological organization.

What are the solutions for information overload?
1) limit “information gathering” to pre-set time blocks, similar to limits you place on funds used for gambling fun
2) select priorities on which information to gather, i.e., make it relevant to you and your goals
3) give yourself time to absorb what you have gathered
4) discipline yourself to disconnect from digital devices (see #1)
5) balance digital information gathering with talking with live resources (persons) knowledgeable on subjects that interest you

The mind, if able to remain focused, can become one of the most powerful forces known to humanity.

And remember: information is a wonderful tool-use and manage it wisely.

Best wishes to all families.