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The Negative Effect of Google on the Human Mind
The article “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” was written by Nicholas Carr on www.theatlantic.com. It generally discusses the effect of the internet on the human brain. The article has a negative connotation on the effects of the internet. It deeply analyzes different aspects of how flow of information has changed over the years. The question “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” makes someone wonder what exactly about Google may be making people stupid. After reading through and analyzing the article, I am of the opinion that the internet does have a negative effect on the human mind because it reduces the concentration span of readers, tends to make people lazy, discourages reading of traditional media, has a lot of distractions and has a negative effect on the social aspect of learning.
The Negative Effect of Google
People looking for information through the internet tend to have low concentration levels. Generally, when people read online material, their eyes tend to move fast from one page of the site to another and even quickly diverts to other sources of information. There are many times when people do not even complete what they are reading (Billout 2008). They generally skim through information to get facts. Studies show that some people may even save the articles but there is not enough evidence to show that they went back to read the saved information. This is unlike traditional media where people would finish what they are reading and note down important points.
Online media also encourages laziness. Due to the use of search engines such as Google, there are many people who do not conduct deep research on given topics. Instead, they just conduct a search on the topic and zoom in on the specific information on that topic. This way, they just get the specific answer and do not look deeply for more information. This is different from the traditional media where people would conduct deep research on a topic and go on to read widely on a given subject before they get the specific answer they were looking for (Billout 2008).
Access to information online has discouraged people from reading books and other printed materials. As much as this has a positive aspect into it, there are also lots of negative aspects. For example, people no longer read much informative or fictitious literature. Before online media became so popular, people would pass their times reading newspapers, magazines and novels among others. This would sharpen their reading and writing skills. It would also help them to visualize more into what they are reading, thus making them sharper in how they view different issues. However, with online media, people generally just browse through what they are reading, therefore losing out on lots of the benefits of reading.
People reading online tend to look for quick solutions, which sometimes makes them miss out on useful information. The rise of internet scams basically came about because of the fact that people do not read widely about a topic. The search for quick solutions also does not build the reader as much as it should since they do not exhaust the given topic. People also may not look deeply into the credibility of what they read as long as they have the feeling that they have found a solution to what they were looking for. As people build their readership, a search for a quick solution does not always give the best result. This is because there are some aspects that may need deeper reading and thinking for them to give best results (Billout 2008).
There are so many distractions online, leading to less productivity in people who purely look for their information online. Due to the rise of social networks, forums, online games and other leisure sites, many do not fully concentrate on what it is they are reading. They easily get distracted and spend a lot of time on non-productive activities, only to start the important activities on it is already too late therefore not giving their best. With the different software programs that give instant notifications, it does not take much to distract someone. Different social media, chatting and even email platforms distract both by sound and popups, making it difficult for someone to ignore what they are being notified about. This may have been the reason why the writer used such a strong word as “stupid” when describing the effect of the internet (Hoyt 65).
The social aspect of learning is also getting lost due to the rise of dependency on online information. There are people who learn best when they discuss with other people or when they are taught by people who understand better than them. However this has been lost due to dependency on online sources, without even taking time to verify the credibility of information gathered online. There are skills such as conversation and presentation skills that are important for learners but cannot be well grasped when one purely depends on learning online (Hoyt 56).
The above information goes to show that indeed there are many negative aspects of online media which are negatively affecting people’s patterns of thinking and processing information. Therefore it is important for people to mix up different forms of learning, both online and offline, so that they can better grasp information and become all rounded in their ways of thinking.
Billout, Guy. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/07/is-google-making-us-stupid/306868/. N.p., 2015. Print.
Hoyt, Clark. ‘Change Can Be Painful, But This One Shouldnâ€™T Hurt’. Newyork Times 2015. Web. 26 June 2015.