Like many people, I spend a lot of my day connected to the internet. Everything from my work responsibilities, to keeping in touch with the family and sourcing recipes for dinner is done online. I hadn’t really thought about the extent of my internet reliance before, but an article I read recently online got me thinking, do we depend on it too much?
The article looked at an American study carried out in 2011 on how the younger generation processed and retained information. The findings suggested that this generation is shaping up to be
Now, initially this might not sound like a big problem as the vast majority of the population has the means to always be connected to the internet. The introduction of technologies such as Google Glass will make this even easier. But will we become less able to think for ourselves the more we rely on something else to do it for us? And what happens when the thing doing the thinking doesn’t always give the best instructions? For example, we’ve all heard stories about people who blindly follow the directions on their sat navs, even if it does mean driving their cars down a busy pedestrian staircase in a town centre. Incidents like this, where common sense seems to go out of the window lead me to believe that perhaps it’s time we all took a step back, and tried to come up with the solutions to our problems ourselves before giving in and letting the computer do it for us. less intelligent than the ones before it, as having access to information instantly via the internet has led to people simply not taking in or remembering the information they’ve searched for, as they rely on something else (such as Google) to remember it for them.
Not only are we apparently becoming less intelligent, but this constant connectivity could also begin to impact upon our health and wellbeing due to the mental stress built up by a need to always stay online. Recent surveys have shown that a person’s work/life balance can be severely disrupted as its becoming too easy to take their work home with them; compulsively checking their messages over dinner on their smartphones and panicking over emails they’ve read before bed which they can’t address until they’re in the office the next day. The pressure to always be seen to be on top of things, particularly when you know the boss could be monitoring your reactions at all times can mean that for some, not only do you never truly switch yourself off from work, the anxiety you’ll undoubtedly suffer when you try to may make you not want to attempt to in the first place.
Though it undoubtedly makes our lives easier, our reliance upon the internet could also be making things much more difficult. Can you really switch off and relax if you’re never truly disconnected?
What do you think?