IB English 11
1 October 2013
Nicholas Carr, the author of The Shallows exposes a novel explaining how besides all the positive assets of using Internet, it also has a negative side to all the things that Internet allows us to do. As he explains in his book, Internet decreases our attentiveness and our ability to analyze any piece of text carefully.
Throughout these last few years, humans have been losing the critical analyzation of texts due to the incorporation of internet to our lives. Internet provoked all of us to skim through a piece of work and just acknowledge some key words and get an overview of the text. Before internet was created, humans would read the whole text and carefully take note of every single detail, while now, thanks to the creation of Internet, it made our time more effective by doing a three hour search into a few clicks, but at the same time didn’t provide the background knowledge and criteria that is needed to understand and refer to any piece of writing correctly. As Carr states in his book, “human judgement cannot be trusted, because it is plagued by laxity, ambiguity, and unnecessary complexity” (p. 247). Due to the fact that Internet is the basis of our lack of attention and laziness, in the end, what we really know is just a bunch of foolish knowledge that altogether don’t make any sense. Internet has helped us in many ways, especially to reduce the time while searching, but also decreased our attention and critical reading.
Teenagers are the population that has been affected by the growth of new technologies their whole life, and they have been using social networks like Facebook or Twitter, that eventually, they made them addicted to any type of electronic media and caused them to be dragged and brainwashed by these devices. The use of cell phones and apps caused not only the teenagers, but everyone the need to use video games to use up all their time and lose all the possible time to enrich their knowledge. “According to an extensive 2009 study conducted by Ball State University’s Center for Media Design, most Americans, no matter what their age, spend at least eight and a half hours a day looking at a television, a computer monitor, or the screen of their mobile phone” (p. 359). In Carr’s novel he explains that our dependence of technology is so big that it is so important to our lives that it is like having to smoke a packet of cigarettes an hour.
The release of new technologies like the e-book have revolutionized the possibility of reading many books from a single flat screen. This has made the possibility to educate our children with more effectivity, but in real life, the pixels that create each letter harm your eyes and decrease the attention that you put in the reading and hurt your eyes. Another fact that decreases the reader’s attention is the constant number of ads that pop in front of you while reading and leads to the lost of concentration. Carr keeps explaining to us throughout most of his novel that the e-book and the Kindle are new great features of improvement for society, but eventually, what brought history together in books and all that we know so far will be translated to electronic devices and possibly lose its meaning.
Internet and technology is a huge influence for humanity and it has temporarily decreased our attention and capability of reading a book without skimming it, but they do help in saving up time and making our lives easier. Even though it might have many good features, our brains start depending of these machines, which cause the laziness and vaguity of our senses.
Carr, Nicholas. The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains. New York: Norton, 2010.