Although our brain never really stops developing, it builds on the foundation laid in the first 5 to 8 years of our lives. In those years, roughly 5 areas develop, influenced and facilitated by each other and family, into the brain we need to enter the world. This system has been operational far longer than we have been trying to understand it. Evolutionary fine-tuned by generations of parenting, brain development evolved into a solid process, equipped to handle most small scale nurturing problems.
The explosive growth of information intake – following the shift from written to visually supplied story lines – changes the way we process that information. The impact of a week long read and digested story is different than that of a barrage of stories absorbed in an average TV evening.
The increase of predefined toys on offer changes the way we play and our expectations of new toys. Converting undefined objects – building blocks, clay, cardboard boxes – into a playable fun activity, hardly compares to arranging predefined objects – dolls, cars, apps – in their predefined space.
We, the grown ups, are experienced users of appliances we could not dare to imagine 20 years ago. We complain about the quality of the wireless network in the train or on a plane. We are an over-saturated society.
But even at the dizzying speed this change takes shape, it is not necessarily bad. The over-saturation could, however, affect the core engine of brain development: curiosity.