How does the Internet affect cognition development in children?

Memory and Technology
Sandy Pennington
Southern New Hampshire University
Memory and Technology
The impact of technology on the cognitive ability of individuals

The cognitive ability of an individual is determined by how well organized and prepared an individual is while performing their tasks (Wilmer et al., 2017). However, technology has come to change the way we perform certain tasks especially when it comes to memorization. Search engines such as Google have made it easier for people to look for answers whenever they come across a task they feel would take more of their time if they take the longer approach of doing research. The first part of this paper shall be discussing some of the effects that technology and specifically the Internet has on the cognitive ability of an individual. The second part shall encompass three research questions that that would help in the improvement of cognition using technology.

Short memory effect

Searching for answers on the Internet has a negative effect on the memory of an individual. As much as it saves on the time spent, the long-term effect is that memorization depreciates with time. The ability to remember is based on how well one understands the topic in discussion. Depending on technology does not, however, give individuals the chance to contemplate and get into the details. Quite often, the memory is short-lived, and they have to refer again whenever the same issue arises in the future. The fact that the information collected at a glance is stored in the short-term memory is the reason remembering becomes an issue due to the limited space in the short-term memory of the individual.

Slowed development

The development of a child is dependent on the social kind of life that they lead in their early years. It is during this time that they can master the art of speaking or in other words language development. Children master the art of language between the ages of two and eight. However, this is purely dependent on how well they are trained. Parents, therefore, need to engage their children in conversations to enhance their listening and speaking skills as they grow up. Failure to doing so might lead to sluggish educational development in their children.

Poor social life

The introduction of social media platforms has led to a change in the social life of many people. With Facebook twitter and Instagram being among the leading social media platforms, they usually involve conversations that are verbally based. More often, social media users find themselves engaging in some kind of solo conversations, which drifts them away from real life situations (Loh et al., 2016). Such scenarios affect the ability of an individual to express themselves in front of people, which is a major blow to the development of cognition in an individual. Verbal conversations are important in that they help people grasp subjects better compared to just reading and trying to memorize by themselves.

Losing track of information

The Internet is full of sites providing the same information regarding a certain topic. This has led to most people making use of the Internet as their external hard drive. Getting information on the Internet is usually meant for short-term use unlike in publications where the individual has to dig deep and take time to understand the content of what they are reading. The Internet is nowadays being used as a source of quick information whether reliable or not. Such practices are detrimental to the cognitive ability of persons.

Research questions

1. How does the Internet affect cognition development in children?

2. What can be done to reshape the overdependence of the Internet for information search in a bid to improve human cognition?

3. What strategies can the tutors use to prevent overdependence on the Internet by students?


Loh, K. K., & Kanai, R. (2016). How has the Internet reshaped human cognition?. The Neuroscientist, 22(5), 506-520.

Wilmer, H. H., Sherman, L. E., & Chein, J. M. (2017). Smartphones and cognition: A review of research exploring the links between mobile technology habits and cognitive functioning. Frontiers in psychology, 8, 605. Retrieved from:

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