July 1, 2015
The Rise of the Internet is Detrimental to our Minds
In the article, “The Internet,” by Steven Johnson, he writes about how the rise of the Internet has actually helped our society. His thesis states that’s the Internet has challenged our minds in three ways: it has made us more participatory, it teaches us new platforms, and it makes us more social. Based on my own experience, I disagree with Johnson because the internet is actually detrimental to our minds making us less participatory and less social.
One reason I disagree with Johnson is because the Internet actually makes us less participatory. Johnson argues that “the networked computer makes you lean in, focus, engage, while the television encourages you to zone out” (120). He’s saying that when one is on the computer, they are actually participating more than they are if they are watching TV. I disagree with this because I constantly see people who are on the Internet, and they are completely zoned out. For example, yesterday, I was trying to ask my husband a question, but he was on the Internet playing Clash of Clans, so I had to repeat myself several times. He was zoned out playing his game and didn’t hear what I said. Thus, this shows that when people are on the Internet, they are just as zoned out as when they watch TV; therefore, their minds are not being challenged.
Another reason I disagree with Johnson is because the Internet actually makes us less social. Johnson claims that “new social networking applications […] are augmenting our people skills as well, widening our social networks, and creating new possibilities for strangers to share ideas and experiences” (122). While this might be the case, it leaves people who are looking at these sites totally oblivious to the “real” people around them. Thus, making them less social in real world experiences. For example, every day when I am riding the train, I look around and see all sorts of people that I would love to chat with to make my commute go by more quickly. Who knows? I might even make a new friend. However, I do not have this opportunity because they are too busy “socializing” over the Internet rather than actually developing the skills to communicate in real life. Because of these social-interactions online, people are no longer challenged to meet the people right in front of them.
Overall, the Internet may be challenging us, but at what cost to our real world experiences? When one lives in the virtual world “participating” and “socializing,” are they letting real life pass them by? I think they are, and because of this, I disagree with Johnson that the Internet is challenging our minds. Instead, the Internet is detrimental to our minds in that it makes us less participatory and less social in our real lives.