Losing the ability to think in the Digital Age

As parents invest in the latest academic software and teachers consider how to weave the Internet into lesson plans, it is a good moment for us to reflect upon the changing world in which youths are being educated. It is digital with computer notebooks displacing spiralled notebooks and blogs, articles, and email messages that shape how we read and communicate. Our brains are slowly becoming endangered – the unforeseen consequences of the transition from a conventional age to a digital epoch that is affecting every aspect of our lives, including the intellectual development of each new reader.

The worry is this: Will kids or even the future generations to come become so accustomed to immediate access to escalating on-screen information that they will fail to probe beyond the information given to the deeper layers of insight, imagination and knowledge that have led us to this stage of human thought? Will the new demands of information technologies to multi-task, integrate and prioritize vast amounts of information help to develop valuable skills?

We are currently exposed to an unprecedented amount of information, which allows us to search for exact wording in just a click away. We do not know which are more important than other, due to the vast amount of data online, hence we might just try to infuse everything into our minds without processing them.

In this “revolution” of information delivery, what is happening? In short, the reader is turning to the Internet, which itself is becoming more accessible. The availability of high-speed Internet access is a priority for many Western governments. Several countries already have high penetration rates. Many cellphones now provide access to the Internet, such as receiving a breaking news story. Since the advent of the Internet, it has turned the tables on who’s the info-searcher and who’s the info-provider. It may still seem that humans are constantly searching for information that is found online, but the truth is the otherwise. We are being chased by information and we often place all of them into our ‘endless minds’, which may have diminished our ability to think critically.

Here’s the article on “Will kids lose ability to think?”: http://xinkaishi.typepad.com/a_new_start/2007/09/st-will-kids-lo.html

Here’s a useful article on “Internet Age: Are we losing our ability to read and think?”: http://realtruth.org/articles/090105-006-science.html

Here’s a useful article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/feb/23/digital-revolution

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