The prevalence of Internet use has often been the focus of various studies and articles. The benefits and probable harms of such advanced technology have been discussed in various platforms by various experts on various fields of study and the public. Among the large volume of works written in an aim to assess and weigh the effects of Internet is Nicholas Carr’s article titled Is Google Making Us Stupid which was published in the July-August 2008 issue of The Atlantic. Carr has written in length the probable negative effects of the Internet in people’s way of reading and thinking. Employing analysis and comparisons from various sources, Carr endeavored to explain the biological and psychological aspects associated with the Internet’s possible negative impact on our way of reading and thinking. Using Carr’s article, this paper will discuss the negative impacts of excessive use of Internet, particularly of the search engine Google, in our way of reading and thinking. While it is true that Internet can do so much to improve our lives, excessive use of it can also affect us negatively.
As explained in Carr’s article, today’s age largely depends on Internet. Considering this, various experts on computer science have formulated various tools that make the access of information on the Internet easier for everyone. Among such tools are search engines such as Google. As explained by Carr, Google has been a very useful tool for accessing information available on the Internet (Carr). With the use of search engines such as Google, information becomes readily available in a matter of seconds or minutes (Carr). Easing the people from the inconvenience of searching for information for days or even weeks, Google has been a staple technological tool for everyone who accesses the Internet in an aim to extract information (Carr). However, despite such great benefit, Google as well as other technological tools present and used for browsing online still poses great disadvantages (Carr).
As discussed by Carr, using search engines, particularly Google, and relying heavily on the Internet for information compromises one’s way of thinking and reading (Carr). The presence of various things on the Internet, such as hyperlinks, links, blinking pop-up ads and even email notifications, all do well in distracting one from reading online contents and information which (Carr). Such creates a reading behavior that prompts one to skim the information presented to him, avoiding the lengthy lines of texts and searching hurriedly for the gist what is being read (Carr). As such happens repeatedly, one adapts to it and acquires a habit that compromises normal reading techniques and ability to concentrate fully on the information being presented (Carr). Given that the network of neurons present in the brain is “plastic” or highly adaptive to changes and reorganization, the behavior being created and promoted by the fast access of information on the Internet becomes deeply rooted and programmed into one’s way of thinking (Carr). As a result, the behavior becomes natural—replacing what was originally learned by the brain (Carr). This acquired behavior negatively impacts one’s ability to read, concentrate, and absorb lengthy pieces of information in texts (Carr).
While it is true that Internet offers an array of positive outcomes for everyone, it also entails various negative outcomes. The fast, better, and convenient access to information provided by the Internet is undoubtedly beneficial for everyone in this generation. However, reliance on only such source of information also comes with negative outcomes which may compromise our natural learning capacities (Carr). Considering this, use of Internet must be controlled and reduced. People, particularly children, who spend a lot of time browsing the Internet for information must develop other habits and activities, such as book reading, that will enhance their knowledge and train their brain to learn using other platforms aside from the Internet. Conducting studies regarding the effect of Internet on students’ output may be important to fully assess the negative outcomes of excessive Internet use. Such may also be helpful in formulating strategies that will help students reduce the frequency of Internet use. Parents’ knowledge regarding the issue may also be helpful. If parents are able to distinguish between excessive and normal Internet use, they will do well in keeping their children from the harms of excessive Internet use. Overall, Internet is indispensable and highly important in making everyone’s lives better. However, use of Internet must be limited and controlled to avoid its harmful effects as described in the article discussed.
Carr, Nicholas. “Is Google Making Us Stupid.” The Atlantic (Jul.-Aug. 2008). Web. 15 July 2015.