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Hello blog readers! It’s time for an update. I recently read the article, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” by Nicholas Carr, in which he discusses how the Internet is altering our cognition abilities. He focuses around our lack of focus: as information is so readily available, people tend to hop from one site to the other, rarely staying on one long enough to read all of the content. He mentions how this constant skipping around has affected his ability to stay focused on a book or a longer read; he tends to get fidgety and bored, whereas in the past he had no trouble. It really raises some questions for the younger generations who are growing up immersed within a society surrounded by technology. After reading this article, I decided to post a response to his question: is the internet really making us stupid?
In my experience, when I am reading a fictional book or something similar for fun, I can fly through the pages, reading for hours at a time. For educational material, however, I definitely have the focusing trouble that Carr mentions. I easily get bored and start to skim when that happens. I can see his point about how this nature to get fidgety and skim readings or not finish the readings at all can inhibit our intelligence and learning. However, if it is an educational reading that revolves around something we are passionate about, then I disagree. If tasked with a reading for subjects that I find very interesting or subjects that I study, I can read about it with no trouble. It is from this angle that I don’t believe the internet is necessarily making us stupid.
Another thing that I noted from a video we watched in class was that because we have access to so much information, we are able to learn more and discover more. Before the internet, in order to obtain information people had to tediously sift through books, newspapers, encyclopedias, etc. It made looking up information a boring task that few wanted to make an effort for. Therefore, if it wasn’t something people really needed to know, then people wouldn’t take the time to look it up. In the present society, even remote curiosity can be satisfied by a quick search on the web. This point brings up another question to ask Carr: is the internet making us stupid because we lose focus so quickly and devote less effort to remembering facts or is it making us smarter because it allows us to obtain a wide array of information at the tip of our fingers. Are we sacrificing an in-depth understanding of a few topics for a surface understanding of a large set of information? And if so, is that completely bad? It is these questions I have been contemplating since reading his article. While my opinions and answers are still up in the air, I hope to devote more focus to how I focus and eventually ground my answers within the context of my observations.