By: Gene Carla Chua
If you are always on the internet I’m sure you have heard that it shortens your attention span, it gives you the inability to engage in in-depth thought, and it causes you to have fragmented and destructive thoughts. It would probably surprise you if I say that none of these are exact facts. These are only supported by anecdotes.
“How is the internet changing the way you think then?” Every year science impresario, author, and literary agent John Brockman posts this question in edge.org so that answers may be heard from philosophers, neurobiologists and other scholars. Their answers all vary of course, but it is very refreshing to hear very good feedback from very reliable minds. Neuroscientist John Greene of Harvard said that the internet does not change the way we think, it provides us with unprecedented access to mounds of information, but it doesn’t have anything to do with how our brain works. Cognitive psychologist
Steven Pinker also has the same view. He said that electronic media is not going to revamp the brain’s mechanisms of information processing. He writes “Texters, surfers, and twitterers” have not trained their brains “to process multiple streams of novel information in parallel, “as is commonly asserted but refuted by research, and claims to the contrary” are propelled by … the pressure on pundits to announce that this or that changes everything. ”
The negative thoughts about the internet will never go away though. Communications scholar Howard Rheingold said that the internet promotes shallowness, credulity and distraction. Evgeny Morozov, an expert in internet and politics said that our lives are based too much in the present – it has been completely detached even from the most recent of our past. Our ability to look back in the past certainly deteriorates.
The internet most of the time is used for social networking, but it is also very helpful in researching. In the internet, we see and find the ideas of other people. These ideas they do willingly share on blogs, in websites, in their Facebook accounts, and they can simply Tweet about it. Sharing is a good thing isn’t it? However, does this affect our creativity? When we see these very good ideas, we can add our own ideas into them and make our own.
This is one way in putting internet to good use. This is also a good way to practice our creativity and even drive our minds to find and create more unique and exciting ideas. Another scenario however is when we simply copy or steal an idea we find in the internet. This is obviously not good. We don’t just simply call it copying, it is plagiarism, and this is punishable by law. That is not at all the point. The point is that we cannot simply call the internet a bad thing or a good thing – it depends on how you see and make use of it.
Image Source: Motherboard