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Screen Time Isn’t All Bad: Ways to Stimulate Your Brain on the Internet

When a group of adults were surveyed in the UK, 38% of participants openly
admitted to spending more time than they would like looking at their mobile
phone screens.
Deloitte, the professional services network
that carried out the survey, concluded their study with a statement of veiled
caution, “What goes on behind the smartphone’s screen is only getting smarter
through machine learning, facial recognition, and other technological
advancements.”
As we continue to spend as much time as
ever fixated on our screens – in all its various shapes and sizes – the
technology behind it continues to grow savvy to our habits and impulses. In
effect, 38% of people in that survey were saying “Yes, I spend too much time
using my phone. And no, I can’t stop doing it because something, some dark,
mystic force means I just can’t stop looking.”
Which leads us to ponder, in this age of
technology users: who’s really using who here?
If more than half of those surveyed still
feel that they’re in control of their screen-time then, for now at least, the
balance may still be in our favor. But if the tech behind the screens is
becoming smarter, and the mystic forces grow stronger, then it’s a pretty good
idea that we start becoming smarter about how we use them too.
Here are three ways you can take
initiative, and the first steps to becoming a little smarter by stimulating
your brain on the Internet. Think not what you can do for your screen, but what
your screen can do for you…


Aptitude Assessment
Tests

 Aptitude Assessment Tests are a staple of
the modern recruitment process. The most innovative companies, particularly the
big players in the tech world, use them to find and hire the brightest and best
talent.
They’re often described as ‘psychometric’
tests, as they look to discover a candidate’s potential in a way that goes
beyond the CV or the interview room. This can provide an employer with a deeper
insight into someone’s most personal qualities such as behavioral instincts or
personality traits: the human mind.
Tests are subcategorized and labeled in
varying degrees of simplicity, from the more straightforward ‘numerical
reasoning’ and ‘verbal reasoning’ tests to the slightly more abstract
‘situational judgment tests’ and ‘occupational personality questionnaires’.
If companies such as Amazon and Microsoft
are using aptitude assessment tests to find the smartest graduates on the job
market, then trying your hand at the various free mock tests is a great way to test
yourself against the very best. Test your verbal and non-verbal reasoning
potential and find out if you’ve got what it takes to work for today’s leading
companies.

 

Games to Stimulate
your Mind

If ‘tests’ or ‘assessments’ seem like more
of an operose task best saved for those hours outside of ‘free time’, then
stimulating your mind with various digital games may be more appealing to you
Traditional board games that challenge and
improve one’s logic and reason have found a new home in the digital environment
and can often be downloaded as apps. The same goes for the old school
pen-and-paper puzzles such as crosswords and sudokus.
Regularly partaking in games and puzzles
that exercise various mental skills such as memory, attention, processing speed
and language skills is a great way to divert those feelings of wastefulness and
guilt that can often accompany a lengthy period of less productive screen time.
A good place to start might be with online Chess or Sudoku. These are two great examples of games that increase
neuroplasticity. They create changes in neural pathways which, on a very basic
level, means the brain can perform low-level reorganizations of itself. As
every game of Chess plays out uniquely (hopefully!) and each Sudoku puzzle is
laid out differently, the brain is forced to recognize and adapt to new
patterns, sharpening your ability to better perform logical tasks.

Reading Articles

Reading
remains – and shall continue to remain – the key to the world’s stored
knowledge. Whether reading books, newspapers or magazine articles, there’s no
better way to stimulate the mind than with the new information, ideas, and
perspectives that we find in the written word.
The
advent of digital publishing has made this treasure trove of knowledge readily
available to more people across the globe than ever before. A recent
Ofcom study showed that over 60% of people now
consume their news on a digital platform as opposed to traditional sources such
as print edition newspapers.
The
majority of nationwide news networks and newspapers have apps that can be
downloaded for free—although some may have what’s called a ‘paywall’ and later
require a subscription fee once a certain number of free articles have been
viewed. However, apps such as
Apple News, Google News, and Microsoft News will keep you up to date with the latest goings-on
completely free of charge.
Longform
and opinion journalism, traditionally found in magazines, is also widely
available online, with apps available for Vanity Fair, Wired and The New
Yorker.
But
perhaps the biggest shift in reading habits has come with the advent of eBooks.
Last year in the UK it
was reported that physical book sales fell by
£168m (5.4%) as more and more readers shifted to eBooks and audiobooks.
As production costs have fallen,
so have retail prices. eBooks can be bought on the
Kindle Store or the Apple Book Store for a much cheaper price than in
traditional book shops, and vast catalogs of books means it’s now easier than
ever to access the best works of fiction and non-fiction alike, all at the
click of a finger.
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Last modified: November 14, 2019
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