Nicholas Carr can empathize with me. As he writes in his article, "Is Google Making Us Stupid?", Carr explains that his inability to focus has come from his new found ability to have what he wants instantly with the internet. A few Goggle searches here, a few clicks there, and you've got what would have taken hours at the library, in a little under half an hour. We're living in fast times where now definitely means now; convenience isn't an option, it's the only way; and literature has become virtually obsolete.
You can find anything online. Scanned pages of books or comic books, adoption agencies for pets, phone numbers of friends and relatives, videos on news reports from a day before, clothing of all sorts, and above all, a social life in the form of text. Though most of society uses all of these outlets for easier living, it's doing more to us than making life easier. It's making us lazy.
Yesterday, collectively, I spend over 10 hours on my computer, 7 of which were spent surfing the internet for no reason other than to surf the internet. That's a pretty high number. According to Victor Brenner's studies on average internet use, the average amount of internet use is about 19 hours a week back in 2006. Three years later, someone like me is already at 10 hours a day. Something changed between then and now, and it may not have been for the better. Out of the subjects involved in his studies, "many reported up to 10 signs of interference in role functioning (primarily failure to manage time, missing sleep, missing meals, etc.)" (About.com). I've seen the effects of over use of the computer. I don't just see it in myself, but in other people. My brother, for example, spends more time talking to people on AIM or MSN messengers, than he does talking to them in person. I've bought him books, and when he was younger, he'd go through 3 books a month, at least. Now, he's lucky he can get through one in 6 months.
How is this going to effect out youth, growing up in a world where technology rules? Are they going to grow up only knowing the vast reaches of the internet? Will the concept of a book made of paper mystify them and become "ancient?" Our brains are constantly changing and adapting, as Carr points out. "Nerve cells routinely break old connections and form new ones" (Carr). With these new connections forming, we're learning a new way to learn. We want to multitask instead of focusing, we don't want to do research, we want it to come to us.
Search engines like goggle have created this illusion for us, that the answers are right there for us to have. There's no real searching anymore, and we're losing our ability to do simple reasoning. Some of us have gotten to the point that we click the first link on google without seeing if it's actually relevant to the topic we're trying to figure out.
Sure, the internet makes things convenient, but what are we trading off? The ability to concentrate on a piece for more than a few minutes, maybe even loose our ability to enjoy books at all. These fast times may actually be making us slower.
-Carr, Nicholas. “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” Atlantic. July. 2008. 02 Oct. 2008
-About.com. What is "Normal" Internet Use? 12 March. 2006. 2 Oct. 2008.