using the internet/computers is bad for you!

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This topic contains 14 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Zachary Michael Trimble 8 years, 5 months ago.

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  • #104133

    Henry Brown

    Now if this doesn’t start the conversational juices flowing… and more “power” to the Luddites suspect that probably nothing will.

    Would argue that this has implication(s) across not on Gov 2.0 but Learning and probably a couple of dozen different fields…

    Make sure you read the Entire blog because it also addresses the “other side” of the issue and provides a significant number of links…

    From the NY Times BITs blog

    If you’re reading this blog post on a computer, mobile phone or e-reader, please stop what you’re doing immediately. You could be making yourself stupid. And whatever you do, don’t click on the links in this post. They could distract you from the flow of my beautiful prose and narrative.

    This is the alarm currently being rung by some in the bell towers of technology.

    There is a lively discussion and some concern that computers, the Internet and multitasking are extracting a mental price.

    Nicholas Carr argues in his book “The Shallows,” that the Internet, computers, Google, Twitter and the like, are making us into shallow thinkers and the neurocircuitry of our brain that long form reading creates is critical for society to function. Mr. Carr thinks that the Web, with its colored hypertext and endless abyss of bite-sized morsels of information, is making us stupid.

  • #104161

    I’m going to read the blog now, but just want to note that I vehemently disagree with the premise based on what you’ve posted.

    Hyper-text linking is a huge boon to intuitive thinkers. Try the MBTI if you want a quick and reasonably accurate assessment of how you think and process information.

  • #104159

    Bill Brantley

    @Henry – Carr is making a great living as the “knee-jerk IT contrarian.” Makes great sweeping statements but not much evidence behind his assertions.

    No, the real enemy to our brain is that guy who cut you off in traffic this morning – “Why Teleworking is Good For Your Mind.”

  • #104157

    Henry Brown

    @ Bill Since when does evidence play a role in these Wild assertions, whether be talking about technical issues, security issues, political issues or any other issue where a certain percentage of the intended audience has the mindset don’t confuse me with the facts my mind is made up.

  • #104155

    Henry Brown

    I agree with you sir: and in fact for several years my documentation has included hyper-text linking if for no other reason by providing a link I can limit my “word smithing” probably by a factor of 2 or 3. Have heard several times that all I was being lazy and I was really dumbing down my audience but this is close to the first time that I have seen this mindset in “print” and on the internet

  • #104153

    Stephen Peteritas

    I really see both sides here. I think that the internet opens up a wealth of information which can ultimately lead to knowledge but I also think for the younger generation it in someways hinders personal thought and drawing your own conclusions. Why think for yourself when someone else already has the answer posted somewhere? Not saying that’s always the case but it does happen and more and more often because of the digital connect the world wide web brings.

  • #104151

    Bill Brantley

    @Stephen: This is a perfect opportunity for a teachable moment. When I have students who assert something that they read on the Internet, I ask if they are sure that the information is correct. What steps did they take to check the source and if they tested the reasoning. We then visit and explore the various entries there. The Internet is a wonderful resource but can be misleading if you don’t critically think about what you are reading. That goes for Freshmen and esteemed business professors from Harvard. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • #104149

    Stephen Peteritas

    @ Bill, Complete Agree! But it does get disheartening to hear over and over “well that’s what google said” as a response or defense to a claim

  • #104147


    I tend to agree to a degree…..if you can’t say it in 140 characters or read it in a blog of 200-300 words or more, you’re not so interested, and there’s a tendency not to interpret it and apply in a new context – just take it at face value.

  • #104145

    I think that there is some merit to this theory. It seems as though “text messaging English” is growing in common use, as I’ve seen it often in email messages that should warrant a more formal writing style. Text messaging is definitely taking its toll on the writing skills of Gen Y.

    Also, technology provides a huge safety net with spelling and grammar. That squiggly little red line that appears beneath most of our spelling errors is now taken for granted. I think there is value in actually thinking about the spelling of words and the use of grammar as we write (and no, I will not be disabling my spell check any time soon to prove a point!)

    Another casualty of technology is the art of land navigation. For Gen X & Y’ers, when was the last time you had to reference a hardcopy map when attempting to find a location? Punch the address in your GPS navigator or map it out in advance on Google Maps / MapQuest and most of the uncertainty disappears!

    I wouldn’t say we are becoming more “stupid”, but rather, more lazy and dependent upon technology. Text messaging, spell checking, and GPS navigation are relatively new technologies in regards to their availability to the masses, and these are just a few items that immediately come to mind. What will be the consequences of many more decades of their common use?

  • #104143

    Stephen Peteritas

    @ Bryan, I tried to beat around the bush earlier and not use lazy but that’s totally what it is.

  • #104141

    Henry Brown

    Not sure I agree that working smarter not harder is lazy, although the definition between the two of them does in fact get rather hazy/blurred.

    I am old enough to remember a couple of “evolutionary” changes in the classroom: The introduction of the slide rule and the hue and cry that went out from all the “old school folks” who swore we were going to produce a bunch of lazy dummies who wouldn’t be able to figure out how much of tip to give without their slide rule. About 10 years later TI and HP came out with hand held calculator and lo and behold the same cry went up.

    I suspect that Gen Y’ers are not any lazier than I (a very early boomer) and I would guess that because of their skills they probably have some more time than me to make sure that their work/life balance is “more balanced” than mine.

  • #104139

    I don’t throw the “L” word around too often, but since I include myself among the allegedly lazy and dependant people who rely heavily on a lot of different tech gadgets, I didn’t see the harm! Sorry if I offended anyone.

    I think that utilizing technology to work “harder not smarter” is absolutely the smart thing to do, but I don’t think it should come at the expense of our basic mental competence. Inventions like the dishwasher, washer and dryer, lawn mower, etc., all eased physical burdens associated with manual labor, replacing only unskilled efforts. Technology that replaces mental “burdens” should always be used with the understanding that we should still be able to write, spell, do math, find our way to destinations, etc., with a reasonable degree of competence and without the crutch of technology!

  • #104137

    Bill Brantley

    “Punch the address in your GPS navigator or map it out in advance on Google Maps / MapQuest and most of the uncertainty disappears!”

    You haven’t tried following some of the Google Maps I’ve printed out! ๐Ÿ™‚

    And there are recent studies on how texting can actually improve language skills ( In my experience, students’ writing skills haven’t been affected by texting but I do have to remind them of the difference between formal writing and texting in their assignments (much as I remind myself not to swear in the classroom while I swear quite liberally while driving).

  • #104135

    That’s why I was careful to say MOST of the uncertainty disappears -Google Maps has attempted to direct me down fictional streets a time or two!

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