i-Minds: How Cell Phones, Computers, Gaming, and Social Media are Changing our Brains, our Behavior, and the Evolution of our Species.

Author:Moore, Amy M.
Position:Book review
 
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Swingle, Mari. i-Minds: How Cell Phones, Computers, Gaming, and Social Media are Changing our Brains, our Behavior, and the Evolution of our Species. New Society Publishers, 2016. 240 pages. Paperback, $19.95.

Technological advances, namely the internet, smartphones, and other platforms to view social media, inevitably penetrate almost every aspect of daily life. Most find this technology to be helpful; allowing friends to stay in-touch over great distances, finding information on a myriad of different subjects, discovering and purchasing rare collectible items, and even finding a future spouse are all made possible by the internet and associated technologies. However, many are beginning to realize that the pervasiveness of this technology is quickly causing problems; some of these problems may not even be recognized initially. Mari Swingle makes the realization of this possibility evident throughout her book, i-Minds: How Cell Phones, Computers, Gaming, and Social Media are Changing Our Brains, Our Behavior, and the Evolution of Our Species, by incorporating actual accounts from her experience as a neurotherapist and drawing from various sources within the field to highlight quickly-changing attitudes and responses towards what she calls "i-tech."

An introductory theme in the book is that i-tech affects almost everyone, on a daily basis, in some way. Swingle refers to a division of the general population between two groups: "Digital Natives" (Millennials and youth, raised with i-tech) and "Digital Immigrants" (Generation Xers and Baby Boomers). She claims that the latter can either incorporate technology into their lives healthfully ("technological integration") or in an unhealthy manner in which i-tech prevents them from living their lives normally ("technological interference.") Although technological interference seems extremely detrimental to Digital Immigrants, Swingle maintains that, in her experience as a neurotherapist, Digital Natives appear to be the most negatively-affected by itech.

Swingle is evidently an advocate of reducing children's time spent on electronic devices and i-tech, providing several case studies involving formerly healthy, well-adjusted children and adolescents, who, after constant and prolonged exposure to i-tech, quickly became anxious, depressed, and even exhibited "failure to launch" (where a young adult is unable to obtain/maintain a job or education after high school and continues to live at the parent's...

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