Five hours on the internet and the naive subjects had already rewired their brains,”
(Carr) Before the internet and modern technology, people would use books or their own experiences to find answers to their questions. In recent years with technology, people use Google or other online resources to gather their information. To most, technology and the internet are outstanding advancements to society, being able to learn basically anything and everything online. On the other hand, learning anything and everything online is what is making these technology users forget the information they receive, and develop cognitive problems. While the public sees modern technology and the internet as a helpful learning tool, it is proven that it only makes the user's “stupid” and “lazy” because of how heavily they rely on this technology.
Studies have shown children’s attention spans are very short compared to adults since their brains are not yet fully developed. Teens and adults are also living with shorter attention spans, all because of technology becoming widely popular in today’s day and age. Technology users are finding themselves becoming easily distracted, and facing new difficulties when trying to concentrate or read. “Flipping back and forth through multiple tabs while not learning anything is a problem in schools for teens.” (Hiscott) Today’s teens are becoming so distracted with everything that appears on their electronics, “87 percent of teachers agreed with the statement, “today’s digital technologies are creating an easily distracted generation with short attention spans” (Hiscott). Hiscott’s statistic proves that teachers are discovering that students are losing their focus and find it harder to think about the task at hand with all there is to do in the technology that is given to them.
In turn “the internet simply changes the way we handle and store information, so the Google Effect "makes us good at remembering where to find a given bit of information, but not necessarily what the information was.” (Roberts) Having Google as an aid for finding information is what is making users “stupid”, they don’t remember the information they learned, but they remember where they found it. People don’t retain this information solely because they rely too heavily on the internet, since they know it will always be there to give them the information they need, instantly. Memory is similar to the effects of losing focus because technology users are still not paying attention to the information they are learning.
“When we go online, we enter an environment that promotes cursory reading, hurried and distracted thinking, and superficial learning. Even as the Internet grants us easy access to vast amounts of information, it is turning us into shallower thinkers, literally changing the structure of our brain.” (Carr) Cognitive changes are a factor of how technology is making people “stupid”, proven in a study explained by Nicholas Carr. “The current explosion of digital technology not only is changing the way we live and communicate, but is rapidly and profoundly altering our brains.” (Carr)
Playing online games, reading, online shopping and searching on internet browsers are just a few of the activities technology users partake in that can become addicting and alter brain activity. Nicholas Carr explains a study that was conducted where a group of frequent technology users and novice users were to browse the internet and read selected articles during an MRI scan. The experienced technology users shown a more extensive use of brain activity compared to the newer technology users because of their previous use on the internet. This test was conducted again, and the novice users were told to spend an hour searching on the internet, their brain activity increased dramatically. “Google seemed to be making people smarter but, more brain activity isn’t necessarily better brain activity”. (Carr) With tests conducted to show the changes in brain activity, it proves that the internet is making technology users “stupid”. Going back and forth through multiple hyperlinks to adjust to new text, reading faster and skimming instead of comprehending the reading is how brain activity was increased but not as a benefit.
Even though the internet is making us stupid people believe that the internet is a helpful resource to use. Google can help you find answers to questions you do not know, or other tools to help in the classroom for learning. “Technology has access to several applications that could help a child with their reading, spelling and mathematical skills and abilities.The advantage of these applications is that they can provide instant feedback.” (Weber) But, these tools are making people more dependent of technology and “lazy”, since they rely so heavily on technology aids such as spell check on a computer or auto correct on their smart phones. “Now people increasingly rely on technology rather than tap what they should have learned in grade school.” (Weber)
Using technology can also increase mental functions such as coordination, reflexes, fast- paced problem solving, and surfing and scanning the internet in a matter of seconds. (Carr) All of the mental functions can be useful for gaming or other activities, but when reading it doesn’t allow the users to actually focus or gain understanding if they are reading an article in a matter of seconds. “It's harder to read lengthy articles.” (Carr 150) Along with this, neural circuits are used for skimming and scanning and the brain is ignoring the neural circuits that are used for reading and deep thinking, so users not absorbing important information. (Carr)
Technology will continue to be an important resource in today’s modern society. In the future, books will decrease to a minimum and the internet will be the main source for information. From this, the population will all be technology users, whether a computer or a cell phone everyone will have grown up in front of a device screen. The public will always see modern technology and the internet as a helpful learning tool, it is proven that it only makes the user's “stupid” and “lazy” because of how heavily they rely on this technology.
Hiscott, Rebecca. "8 Ways Technology Makes You Stupid." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 25 July 2014. Web. 19 Nov. 2016.
Roberts, Genevieve 1. "Google Effect." The Independent. Independent Digital News and Media, 15 July 2015. Web. 25 Nov. 2016. <https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/features/google-effect-is-technology-making-us-stupid-10391564.html>.
"Technology a Helpful Tool." Daily Post (Rotorua, New Zealand). N.p.: APN New Zealand Limited, 2014. N. pag. Newspaper Source Plus. Web. 25 Nov. 2016.
Carr, Nicholas. "The Web Shatters Focus Rewires Brain." Wired. N.p., 24 May 2010. Web. 25 Nov. 2016. <https://www.wired.com/2010/05/ff_nicholas_carr/all/1>.
Carr, Nicholas. "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" The Norton Reader. Ed. Linda Peterson, John Brereton, and Joseph Bizon. New York: WWNorton, 2012. 150. Print.