Internitwit This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

March 25, 2009
I recently read “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” – an article in The Atlantic about how the Internet has changed the way we think. This got me wondering: is our increasing dependence on the Internet substantially affecting the way our brains work? The answer is yes.

In his article, writer Nicholas Carr cites research that shows an alarming trend: the more we use the Internet, the less apt we are to concentrate and absorb large amounts of information. The human brain is able to adapt to circumstances, as is the case here. Because the Internet provides us with the information we are looking for so quickly, our brains have learned to expect to get what we’re looking for through skimming or a minimal amount of ­actual reading. We are slowly losing the capacity to read, let alone absorb, lengthy pieces of writing.

But I believe that the Internet is also affecting our brains in other ways. The way we write online, the slang we use, is becoming more and more a part of our offline lives. Have you noticed yourself making more grammatical errors, or having the urge to abbreviate words? You can thank the Internet for that. Because of the pervasiveness of slang in IM and texting, our brains now expect it.

The Internet really is changing the way we process information. Is it making us stupid? Not necessarily, but I don’t like it all the same.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 24 comments. Post your own now!

abnormal said...
Jul. 1, 2011 at 3:35 pm

I do see your point.  We do expect to get information fairly quickly, but that doesn't always mean we will suddenly forget how to read and process the words on the page.  People still read books as well as search the internet to get answers and facts.

P.S. Considering your on the Internet to post this, it doesn't support the point you're trying to make.

EmilyMichelle This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 23, 2010 at 9:47 am
This is quite an interesting article. I do agree with you in many respects, some people are really taking the abbreviations/slang too far. Sadly, the only way we can fix this is if people learned to think for themselves and recognize that the internet is different from the real world, and not everyone seems liable to want to think that way. This article is an excellant way to get information out there, but there will always be people that disagree with you, and there will always be people... (more »)
EmilyMichelle This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Dec. 23, 2010 at 9:49 am
Wow, I just reread my comment and it sounded ridiculously pessimisstic. I'm really a very optimistic person...I have no idea where that came from!
LastChapter said...
Dec. 22, 2010 at 6:29 am
i agree with a lot of points in this piece, and you definitely seem to have done your research, but i feel like everyone who says they don't like texting, or they think the internet is changing us for the worst, should really think about what they want to change. do we really want to fear progress? when i come across this topic, i always think, "okay, this isn't good. but what do you want to do? shut down the internet?" and even if we could, i don't think we should. its confusing, ... (more »)
bennyB said...
Nov. 29, 2010 at 1:12 pm
another overly dramatic peoce about problems in our generations
IamtheStargirl said...
Sept. 2, 2010 at 6:23 pm

Nice :)

I personally hate texting. A pet peeve of sorts.

AgnotTheOdd said...
Aug. 11, 2010 at 1:10 am

I agree to an extent.  I remember between over winter break in 5th grade, I did a lot of IMing.  I came back and spelled everything wrong - not that I didn't know how to spell, it was just a habit.

I never abbreviated anything over IM, text, email, and whatnot ever again

lovelauren3 said...
Mar. 10, 2010 at 8:29 pm
Well written, I must say. I'd like to disagree with your article, but I don't. We should all be aware of this so it doesn't get worse in the future.
kiki said...
Feb. 16, 2010 at 1:10 am
Hey, this is the new age people. The internet is not going anywhere, so what's left? Adapting and using it to our potential, and benefit. Language is constantly changing with time, abrvations and shrtned wrds may now just be the future of how many of us communicate...or Chinese (which would suck, with all those kanji we would have to memorize).
I'm kind of an optimist, so I see the slang as another language...and one, that we essentially "invented"! I'd say that&#... (more »)
toxic.monkey said...
Jan. 3, 2010 at 9:30 am
i agree with 123098, i still don't quite understand why you dislike "it" and I think you could write more on this.
*and if you see your grammar degrading due to IM'ing, just stop abbreviating and type properly* btw we need to develop new skills to handle working with the internet- not staying concentrated but rather filtering useless from useful info. it's still an effort if you've ever used the internet to write a research paper
alex9426 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 12, 2009 at 10:56 am
interesting to read, i thought. a new perspective. but the people reading this article will be on the internet to read it, for the most part. ironic??
monalisafan said...
Oct. 29, 2009 at 2:51 pm
i never thought about it like that, because with the im thing it actually does affect me in langauge. lol! this article really opened my eyes
usaswimmer6 said...
Oct. 29, 2009 at 12:40 pm
Wow, I didn't know about that. It makes sense though. You really opened my eyes. Thanks!
suprswimmer said...
Oct. 6, 2009 at 9:17 am
This is a tough one to respond too. Like 123098 said, you need to come off of the fence more if you are going to put this in the opinion section. That's not to say it isn't good, it really is an interesting way to look at things. The internet (and all technology) will change the way our society is through quicker information, which could eventually make things difficult. The only problem is that you are posting this on the internet, speaking about the social issues to come from the sam... (more »)
suprswimmer replied...
Oct. 6, 2009 at 5:24 pm
Another things that could make this an invalid point (correct me if I'm wrong): glossaries in the backs of books, or at the end of a chapter. Doesn't this make us expectant to find information quickly and displace the blame on the internet only?
123098 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 1, 2009 at 7:26 pm
Yes, well, you've really failed to make a point. You could've just posted a link to the article. Yes, we all know that technology changes society, but you haven't identified that change as positive or negative, or provided any opinion on the matter, besides saying that you don't like the change. Why don't you like the change? Stop trying to be artistic and mysterious by letting readers answer the question for themselves, because an opinion piece needs just that, an opinion.
AmnyR said...
Aug. 12, 2009 at 2:10 pm
true in some ways, but i think that as long as people realize that the internet is just a tool, we'll be fine. very well written though.
chas said...
Jun. 6, 2009 at 2:29 am
i think what you say is true, the internet and texting and technology like that is changing how we expect to and recieve information. My friend says the emails i write are much toooooo long. As opposed to her one word ones(average somtimes 2-22) . i also think that our society today is to focused of techonolgy and avvoiding snail mail and anything that could possibly be seen as and inconvienouce. we call ourselves human and look how we treat cows. (seriously look) cool article, good point. bye
i believe in dreams' said...
May 3, 2009 at 12:12 pm
I love this article! I don't like using slang and now I have a bigger reason not to. Did you know that at the rate we're going technoligically, humans will soon invent a computer that is smarter and stronger than the human. I think our computer now is smarter than a human, so imagine that one! I think humans see it as a way to make money and chat with friends. I see it as a way to destroy our society.
lopo123 said...
Apr. 27, 2009 at 11:34 pm
this is soooo true once i was in school i was writing a report and used the word cool and once i was finished and reread it i spelled cool like k0ol becuz thats the way i spell it online
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