What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains
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What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains


So you are reading an article online when
you get an instant message with a link to a funny photo, which of course you have to
share. And now you are reading your Facebook News Wall, which sends you to a video of a
panda bear attacking a kid. And now you are reading wikipedia to learn everything you
can about the violent behavior of panda bears. And this is what 3 minutes on the internet
can be like. We live like this all the time, and it has
to have some kind of effect on us. The ‘net is making us more superficial as
thinkers. That is Nicholas Carr. He is the author of,
“The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains.” To understand this whole thing better we need
to go way back in time, to say, like, the prehistoric age. You wanted to know everything was going on
around you because the more you knew about your surroundings the less likely you were
to get attacked by a predator. And there’s even evidence that our brains release some
dopamine – a pleasure inducing neurotransmitter chemical – to reward us for seeking out and
finding new information. So, getting distracted felt good and helped
us stay alive. But the problem is that nowadays, predators aren’t much of an issue, but we
still have the same brains. And also, there’s the internet, which is… It’s an incredibly information rich environment,
uh, that the ‘net creates for us. And that’s why we use it so much. I mean, sounds, pictures,
words, texts. And what this tends to do is promote a sort of compulsive behavior in which
we are constantly checking your smart phone, constantly glancing at our email inbox. We’re
kind of living in this perpetual state of distraction and interruption. Which is dangerous because… That mode of thinking crowds out the more
contemplative calmer modes of thinking. And that focused, calm thinking is actually
how we learn. It’s a process called memory consolidation. And that means the transfer of information
from our short term working memory, to our long term memory. And it’s through moving
information from your working memory to your long term memory that you create connections
between that information and everything else you know. So you’ve got this awesome, life changing
piece of information in your short term memory, but then you hear that email ding, and poof,
there it goes. That email takes its place, and you never get a chance to learn anything,
all because of one distraction. So attention is the key. And if we lose control
of our attention, or are constantly dividing our attention, uh, then we don’t really enjoy
that consolidation process. But I can hear it now, someone is out there
saying, “Uh, what does learning matter if all of the information in the world is just
a Google search away?” Well… Um, that is is kind of short-changing our,
our intellects. If that’s the way you’re using your mind, just kind of searching very quickly
and finding information and then forgetting it very quickly, you’re never building knowledge.
You’re simply, you’re, you’re kind of thinking like a computer. Which means that our very humanity is at stake.
And it would be a shame if we all got assimilated, because, well, humanity is pretty neat. I really believe that if you look at the great
monuments of culture, they come from people who are able to pay attention, who control
their mind. That’s what allows us to think in the highest terms and think conceptually,
think critically, uh, think in some very creative ways. And it’s this kind of thinking that’s at risk:
being eroded one cute cat video at a time. Don’t get us wrong: The internet is good for
lots of things, and it should be celebrated. But the best thing we can do for our minds
is to find some time every day to unplug, calm down, and focus on one thing at a time. Your email — and those cats — will be here
when you get back.

100 thoughts on “What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains

  1. The internet is completely different to different people. Lumping it into one category is what a stupid person does.

  2. For all you people who make these videos, just saying without the Internet you couldn’t even make them

  3. Muito, muito bom! É mais que necessário repensar sobre o impacto dessas novas tecnologias na nossa vida, e hábitos.. Adorei a ilustração.

  4. what a crock of shit, perhaps teens who get caught up in eating Tide Pods and run beside their Mom's car with the doors wide open like idiots, it doesn't mean we all are that STUPID!!!

  5. one, people on the internet are stupid
    two, five percent are normal an have hearts
    three, most people (ahem, children.. ahem, teenagers) on the internet are heartless

  6. Hacer las cosas importantes primero como una habilidad o aptitud, los lindos gatos y correos para despues. Me encanto el video, sumamente util.

  7. well you see the thing is we not only use computers for personal use, we also use them for business like teaching, accounting, & crime records for police, its not all ruining our lives, some of it is also making our lives better.

  8. Its actually funny how "shallow" this behavioral view of "nowadays we have no real predators" is.If social media and abusers have told us something,its that other PEOPLE are predators to people.some social dynamics are still ugly as hell and trauma is a reality for far too many people…. And for the other point: just make sure to learn how to use each media with competence and off you go💙💜

  9. 2013: Computer addiction can kill off humanity.
    2018: The internet helps old uneducated people education and gives your brain a workout AND helps the disabled.

  10. Are we running the machine, or is the machine running us? It has made us more stressed out, isolated, unable to think for ourselves and the thing called community is nearly gone. I remember how it was before all this started.I even made a video on Technology. While it has some positive purpose, don't let it run your life. You know that society is going backwards when some people are texting each other in the same area when they should be talking. I feel sorry for the younger generation because they will never know what it was like before all this became our survival. What are they going to do if it ever crashes? Need to start Thinking For Yourself and not being spoon fed by the so called world leaders, religious leaders or the Internet. I learn most from experience. Not from the computer. Think about it. I am learned a lot about how to make videos and other things but generally i have to figure many things out on my own

  11. Honestly, a big point they kinda missed in this video is the sheer waste of time the internet is. Sure, it's entertaining and all, but you are being zero percent productive. You could be doing something you could tell stories about, create something, talk to friends, etc. but instead you just waste your time doing nothing.

  12. this does not make sense, why does the internet give us short term memory loss? fake just wow i have good grades in school…. wow i… cant even…

  13. But, how knowing bunch of info(hence all isn't facts) makes you smarter than parrot? This is my main argument not to memorize stuff you will find on www.

  14. It's addicted but this is what all the Tech is doing:
    Guy 1: Hey! Wanna' hear a scary story?
    Guy 2: Pfft! Nothing scares me!
    Guy 1: Fine… Once upon a time…. There was no INTERNET
    Guy 2: STOP!!! STOP!!!
    Guy 1: Or Wi-Fi
    Guy 2: STOPP!!!!

  15. what who does this i don't even check my Gmail most of its spam who actually does most of this im sure there's one person or so who does this I don't know it seems stupid its a cool video n all but idk I didn't really have a PC in 2013 because I quite frankly dgaf but ok I guess

  16. Is it ok to watch cartoons or a tv series for no more than 1 hour a day? Is this dangerous for attention and brain? Thanks in advance for your answer.

  17. The obvious thing missed out is that it's made people really stupid. They don't read real stuff, don't learn things that are worthwhile. No critical thinking. The average IQ has dropped drastically in the last 30 or 40 years. We're raising a generation of dummies with no empathy for other human beings.

  18. After watching this, I think it might to a lot of us good to steer aways from the internet for a long time, and focus on other things. Unfortunetely the internet is pretty much the only other way for some of us to socialize; and for us creative individuals in particular and share our artwork and gain feedback.

  19. do you know why you are following, And every time you turn around want some to say to you ? i have nothing to say to you because i am so lost lost like you ask the computer for a question and go shit somewhere else, i, ll get you toilet paper later,

  20. I dunno, man. People have always been really, really stupid. Think of the mob in ancient Rome. Or peasants during Medieval Europe. Just primitive, reactionary, uneducated dummies. Then fast forward to now. At least people can look up facts easily rather than going without. It's not like people went to the library when they wanted to find out some simple fact.
    There's limited forced exposure to new ideas for people with closed minds, but really, how has that changed?

  21. Yes, the information richness becomes a kind of neuorological addiction that becomes difficult to wean ourselves off of. It has been my struggle growing up and coming of age post 2000 in an era where internet is common place. Very well articulated points in this concise vid, I daresay, the digital and internet age poses considerable threats to human well-being.

  22. THANKU for this, I think u mite b doing REAL BRAIN DAMAGE from the internet.. I scan from thing to thing.and last few days I can't handle much more than 30seconda to a minute b4 HAVING to switch..

    NOTHING IS HOLDING MY ATTENTION..
    Conversation with people is becoming a little erratic I cannot stay on one subject and I am getting SERIOUSLY BAD MEMORY ISSUES. I mean. Like if I watch a video get bored go to the search bar "I've allready forgot what I was thinking of!"//

    I think I mite seriously need to de-plug /turn all power off get bord and find other things.

  23. what the FUCK, everything anyone says about the internet is always bloody negative. stop being scared of change people, you can't help this shit.

  24. have anyone of you people thought about the entertainment we are exposed to these days? every move 97% we have been conditioned to see it as acceptable…if you showed these movies to rats in a cage [ figuratively speaking ] what do you think they would do after a while?….now look at the rest of society…when the movies we watch become a lot like the news we see? ….my God people do any of you question what mad scientist is controlling this world?

  25. What get me is not the information per se, but that most of it is negative and designed to trigger raw emotion in you to make you click. Had to use firefox to disable suggested videos on Youtube side pane. This actually helps a lot.

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