Warning: The Internet Rots Your Brain
I believe the Internet is rotting our brains and corroding our relationships.
How is this possible given the extraordinary wealth of information that's out there? And since we can connect with people every day through social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube, how is it possible to say that the Web is damaging our "IRL" relationships?
I believe there are three reasons. I must say first, of course, that I believe the Internet can be a force for good. I don't miss the irony of posting this article on a Web 2.0 site. I simply believe that we are slowly turning the Internet into a monster that we will not be able to control.
Three Reasons Why the Internet Sucks
Here are three reasons why I believe the Internet can be dangerous if not used in moderation. I'm sure there are many more reasons why this is so, as there are plenty of reasons why the Internet is great. This is all meant to start a conversation.
What should be a tool, a means to an end, is becoming an end in itself.
The internet is the greatest tool out there when it comes to finding information, sharing with others, and connecting to friends, family, and even total strangers.
The problem is when the tools that are supposed to help us in these endeavors become ends, or goals, in themselves.
We obsessively check blogs and websites for updates like a rat pressing the lever for a treat.
We check our Facebook and e-mail constantly for the latest updates.
We burn endless hours on Youtube.
All of these uses of the Internet are awesome in moderation. The only problem is that they are becoming obsessive, addictive behaviors with no purpose in themselves. Without a specific goal when using these tools, we will simply be pushed around in the never ending sea of data and distractions.
It is always available. It used to be that you could only access the Internet on your computer. Now seemingly every phone and electronic device can hook up to the web.
As a result, many of us are never truly disconnected. We live in a digital world in which we repeat the above discussed behaviors again and again and again. We are truly zombies in that the goal is to get the next "hit" instead of using the tools for productive reasons.
Unplugging completely is difficult, if not impossible, simply because we now need to use the Internet to function in everyday life. Overcoming the beep of an arrived e-mail or the notification of an RSS reader or status update is like overcoming a physical addiction to food, drugs, and so on.
Finally, we believe the Internet is more useful and productive than it is. This is perhaps the most dangerous aspect of our Internet use. Again, the Internet does have its uses. The only problem is that we think it's more useful than it really is. It gives the dangerous illusion of productivity - we think we are "getting something done" when we are reading the 10th blog post for the day, watching the 100th video, or "connecting" with friends over social networking.
In many cases, these activities are doing nothing but burning up time.
What Do You Think?
Comment below. Do you think the Internet - the sites, the apps, the social networks - is a net positive for society? Is it possible that we depend on it too much? What does it mean to use the Internet "in moderation"?