Is teh InterWeb Making Us Stupid?

Nicholas Carr started noticing the change in the way he thinks a few years ago, starting with his decreased ability to focus while reading books.

When he mentioned his problem to his friends - most of them literary types - many said they're having the same problem ... the InterWeb is making them stupid!

The more they use the Web, the more they have to fight to stay focused on long pieces of writing. Some of the bloggers I follow have also begun mentioning the phenomenon. Scott Karp, who writes a blog about online media, recently confessed that he has stopped reading books altogether. “I was a lit major in college, and used to be [a] voracious book reader,” he wrote. “What happened?” He speculates on the answer: “What if I do all my reading on the web not so much because the way I read has changed, i.e. I’m just seeking convenience, but because the way I THINK has changed?”

Bruce Friedman, who blogs regularly about the use of computers in medicine, also has described how the Internet has altered his mental habits. “I now have almost totally lost the ability to read and absorb a longish article on the web or in print,” he wrote earlier this year. A pathologist who has long been on the faculty of the University of Michigan Medical School, Friedman elaborated on his comment in a telephone conversation with me. His thinking, he said, has taken on a “staccato” quality, reflecting the way he quickly scans short passages of text from many sources online. “I can’t read War and Peace anymore,” he admitted. “I’ve lost the ability to do that. Even a blog post of more than three or four paragraphs is too much to absorb. I skim it.”

I would've told you more about it, but the article was waaay too long ;) Link

Newest 5
Newest 5 Comments

i commend the internet for having so much reading material. if it weren't for the intertron, i wouldn't read nearly as much as i do. i've always hated reading books because they've always been boring to me, but i've actually picked up more books in the last year or two because i'm eager to absorb more material. i could also give credit to my boyfriend because he has a good collection of books and he's a reader of sorts... i've also gotten more into politics and worldly affairs, and nothing really compares to the novelty of a good book.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I think people aren't getting more stupid because of the Internet... almost everyone (adults) I know say they used to read more when they were younger, regardless of whether they use the Internet. I think it's just a thing that happens as you get older: you have more to worry about, more things to do, so having a book hold your attention for the same length of time requires more of an effort to step away from your normal life. I'm not saying *all* adults have issues when reading, but I'm saying that it's harder to fit reading into the packed life of your average adult than into the life of a college student or teenager. So many people have said to me that they don't have time to read anymore...
And I dislike reading long articles on the Internet. But not because they're long, but because I dislike reading on a screen, plus I have a widescreen monitor so the text comes up a lot smaller...
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I personally have noticed myself gaining intelligence, rather than losing it. See? 4 big words, in 1 sentence.

I've gained more vocabulary, and grammar skills.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Commenting is closed.
Email This Post to a Friend
"Is teh InterWeb Making Us Stupid?"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.


Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
Learn More