Am I smarter or dumber?

By: Hanna Jane Evangelista

The Internet

In today's generation, people use technology a lot, especially the Internet and especially kids. Whenever and Wherever you have Wi-Fi signal, you can access the Internet and guess what? You can almost do everything with it! Want to have fun but too lazy to go out and with friends? Easy. Just go online and invite them to play an online game with you. No need to leave the comfort of your room. Meet a dead end on a research project due tomorrow? Rest assured. Google is just a click away and Wikipedia is more than willing to help. Missing a family member on another State or a far away friend? Guess what? You can just open the mobile device near you and catch up to them online! Need a dress for a party but have no time to go shopping? Just open up your phone and shop whenever you want. In no time, you'll have the perfect dress ready to be delivered at your doorstep. Bored? Having a total bad day? The Internet will solve that for you. Cute little cats or funny Youtube videos is sure to brighten your day. See, doesn't the Internet have it all?


But alongside those benefits the Internet can give, are the rising concern of the Internet causing distraction and decrease in concentration and attention span the use of Internet can cause. Some people think the Internet makes us dumb.


Does it really?

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Cause of Concern

Recent studies show the drop of 4 seconds in our average attention span, from the 12 second average attention span recorded in 2000 to the 8 seconds average attention span we have now, which is embarrassingly, a second lower than the average attention span of a gold fish according to the National Center of Biotechnology Information (techilicious.com). Today, almost everyone have a smart phone, which makes doing necessary work harder because of the constant urge to check a new status update, watch a cute cat video or just relax with your phone and completely forget that you have work to do.


And it's not just our attention span suffering the effects, our brain does too! People use to stay up all night browsing the Internet, completely oblivious of the time, and by the time they notice it, it's already 6 hours past midnight and the sun's already up. People think it's harmless, but a study funded by the Swedish Brain Research foundation says otherwise. The research concluded that lack of sleep can cause loss of brain tissues that can't be replaced (techilicious.com). You might think staying up late is harmless, but watch out! Your brain cells might already be suffering the effects!

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I am smart!

How can the Internet make us dumb when it tells me everything I want to know?


Well, that might just be on the outside. A research article published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology by Yale University Researchers, stated that the Internet creates a false recognition on what we actually know (techilicious.com and arstechnica.com). Since the Internet provides information that we needed, we tend to feel confident and think that we are smarter although in reality, we are not. Because the Internet tells us everything by just searching it up, we no longer think it's necessary to memorize facts and store the information we just gathered. The internet provides a sense of security and gives confidence that we don't need to think of memorize things for ourselves anymore because we can just search it up again.


The Internet make things easier for us to do that it makes us confident that we know what to do. If you are going somewhere unfamiliar and got lost, you can just turn on your GPS and look up your location instead of using a map, you don't even have to remember the streets and houses when going back! If you don't know the recipe for the food you want to cook, you can just search it up on the Internet instead of looking all over the house to look for a recipe book, if you forgot the recipe again, then just take your phone out and you'll be cooking in no time. The Internet helps us make things easier for us, but it doesn't necessarily make us smarter like we think. Sure, it helps in a lot of way and maybe we are smarter, but are you sure it's not an illusion made by the Internet?

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It does make me Smart!

As stated earlier, the Internet creates and illusion of being smart, but it doesn't necessary mean it doesn't, because in some ways, it does make us smart. Expert's say that the Internet enhances our reading, writing and rendering of knowledge (cnet.com). The Internet may cause some distraction, but skimming through Google or Wikipedia might not be a bad thing. After all, the Internet does give information we wanted and helps us do our research of our own. Games helps people become smarter too! Games like Tetris and Simon helps our memory and Brain function as well as other brain teasers (techlicious.com). People generalize that all games are a bad influence to children, but really, not all of them are. Some games help kids better concentration, some help improve memory and some even teach kids how to write their Abc's.


Not only does the Internet make us smarter logically, it makes us smarter in socializing with other people and makes us more tolerant too. Research conducted in 2003 by a Swedish business student found out that people who use the Internet more than an hour a day have higher tolerance than those who use the Internet less than an hour a day, another research done by Japanese researchers stated the same thing (katekatharina.com). Because people are exposed to other people with different ethnicities, religion, beliefs and sexuality as them, they become more accepting and tolerant. They share their problems online and different people help them regardless of their differences and accept them for who they are.

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Smarter or Dumber?

Putting all the facts together, we can conclude that in some ways the internet makes us dumb, lowering our attention spans, decreasing our concentration and destroying brain cells but in some ways it can also make us smarter, providing needed information, improving reading and writing skills and teaching us things we don't know before. The Internet, like many other things in the world have its benefits and downsides that can be really harmful, but whether it makes us dumber or smarter, depends on the user and how the Internet is used.


Does using the Internet make you smarter?

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Works Cited

"Is the Internet Making You More Tolerant?" Katekatharinacom. N.p., 25 Nov. 2014. Web. 13 June 2015.


O'Grady, Cathleen. "The Internet Doesn’t Make You Smarter; You Only Think It Does." Ars Technica. N.p., 3 Apr. 2015. Web. 13 June 2015.


Wells, Kaitlyn. "Does Technology Make Us Smart or Dumb?" N.p., 04 June 2015. Web.


Whitney, Lance. "The Internet Can Make You Smarter, Experts Say." CNET. N.p., 22 Feb. 2010. Web. 13 June 2015.