JUL 13, 2010 7:59am ET

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Does the Internet Make You Smarter or Dumber?


A couple of weeks ago, I had a spirited discussion on technology with my best friend. After watching me seemingly consumed with texting my high school/college-aged kids while socializing one evening, he couldn't resist poking fun at my plight. A psychologist by training, he cited studies of the untoward effects of technology multi-tasking and the pernicious impact of instant messaging on the quality of communication. He also jokingly diagnosed me with attention deficit. I defended my behavior, noting that texting and IM are by far the easiest ways to stay in touch with teens and young adults. The kids almost never respond in a meaningful time frame to a phone call, and you'd think that email went out of fashion with desktop computers. I countered by calling my friend a curmudgeonly technophobe. Humbug!

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Comments (11)
I vote 1 - smarter. It's all in how you use it, but the endless amounts of knowledge made available via the Internet has revolutionized information consumption and thus our intellects.

Also, please note that being dumb and having a short attention span are not the same thing.

Posted by Valerie V | Thursday, July 15 2010 at 11:58AM ET
It's not as black and white as more smart as dumb. The internet has definitely enable me to have more comprehensive access to information from which I interpret, take into consideration and merge with other data to take informed decisions. The question I ask myself is does the internet enable me to do my job more efficiently and am I able to accomplish tasks faster. The answer is yes! I can make purchase decisions much faster, complete work related tasks faster and with more confidence. I agree however with staying focused. It take effort not to be distracted while reading an article such as yours with all the motion of pop-ups and the like constantly distracting me. I would like to see that stopped so I can concentrate on the writer's article.
Posted by Steve B | Thursday, July 15 2010 at 1:55PM ET
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