Where I remember learning about the Dewey Decimal system and rummaging through books for information to write my school reports, now likely sources are Wikipedia and YouTube.
Sure this is great, amazing even, but I see it as a decline in the way we process information. Maybe every generation looks at the next with a sense of sadness and a yearning for what used to be, but are we creating enough critical thinkers to lead us to a new level of humanity?
In 2020, the brains of multitasking teens and young adults are “wired” differently from those over age 35 and overall it yields baleful results. They do not retain information; they spend most of their energy sharing short social messages, being entertained, and being distracted away from deep engagement with people and knowledge. They lack deep-thinking capabilities; they lack face-to-face social skills; they depend in unhealthy ways on the Internet and mobile devices to function. In sum, the changes in behavior and cognition among the young are generally negative outcomes.
Need information? Google it.
We no longer comb through hundreds of pages, but rather Google the said information and find exactly what we need. Don’t write down or memorize recipes, because you can find them online anytime you need. Kind of does away with having to memorize the times table by heart – need a calculation, use your phone, or learning how to spell – isn’t that what spell check was made for?
Why read a book if you can get the summary online?
Novels can be pages and pages of long. The literally word art of our predecessors is something to be marveled at. Used to be when you wanted to know the plot, you had to read it for yourself. Now there are summaries and movies that mean you don’t have to read very much to get to the thick of it.
Flash mobs just don’t move us anymore
The extreme and crazy campaigns that dropped jaws in the past are just ‘been there, done that’ today. Spreading virally online, people around the world are in on your campaign before you even pursue it.
This negative view could be counter argued by the many advantages that we have today that simply weren’t possible before. It’s great that we can send videos and pictures at the push of a button, and that we can connect with loved ones miles and miles away. The news we now receive is now by the people, for the people, which means we really get to see all sides to every story.
The list of advantages go on from there, my only hope in the fast-pace of life today is – remember to stop and read a book, talk to a friend and put the phone down for some real life experience.
Can’t get your eyes of your smartphone?