Is Google to Blame?

For one of my English classes this semester (one that deals with digital literacy’s) we were instructed to read an article by Nichols Carr titled “Is Google Making Us Stupider?”

Initially is said absolutely.

My reasoning was this: I look up definitions for words or a quick fact for a paper I am writing I use the information-hardly giving my brain time to process the information. The result is I forget it. I used to think this was the fault of my memory, or rather, my fault. But after reading the article I blamed Google and the Internet in general. For a couple of hours that is...

Until, I got to my English class, where it was time to discuss our opinions about what the article was trying to assert. I voiced my initial opinion and some of my classmates agreed with me. I said that if I can’t look up, for example, a definition in a dictionary I am less likely to remember what the word means.

As I was listening to the counter arguments, given by education majors and telecommunications majors, I was opened up to a new set of opinions that I hadn’t thought of before.

Our generation and society has easy access to facts, statistics, definitions, scholarly articles and ‘how to’ videos than any other generation before us. Let’s say I don’t know what the word “equilibrium” means (I do in fact know what this word means; I am just keeping with my ongoing ‘definition’ example). I look up the word on dictionary.com and I am instantly given the definition of the word, and I can apply it to an everyday experience instantly. No other generation had the ease of access like we do.

My opinion changed: the Internet is black and white. Either you use the Internet with a purposeful reason; to broaden your knowledge. Or, you use the internet like a blooming idiot; looking up stupid videos on Youtube like some guy doing something ridiculous who then ends up hurting himself just to get a couple thousand views.

My assertion: Google isn’t making us stupider. The people who use Google in a stupid way is what makes the general public think that we are are.

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2 comments about "Is Google to Blame? ".
  1. mary , September 19, 2011 at 11:32 a.m.
    I don't know what I would do without Google. As a former English Education major, I had grand ideas about allowing my students to have the access to Google and other social media in the classroom because I believe so strongly in its ability to do its own sort of teaching. In learning how to use Google and other social media to get answers to questions that one might not already know, all we are doing is taking advantage of technology that we have in order to be more knowledgeable. Just because it is easy to find this information does not mean that we are "stupider" because we don't have to wander aimlessly down the halls of a library looking for the answer to our question. I completely agree... "The people who use Googe in a stupid way is what makes the general public think that we are." There is nothing wrong with using Google for entertainment purposes, and there is nothing wrong with using it to retrieve information. That just makes us brilliant for knowing its many purposes and how to use them.
  2. joseph , September 25, 2011 at 6:55 p.m.
    Google is amazing. Google isn't making us "stupider", we have been doing that all on our own. I do mostly legal research for a living and I have learned over and over again that you cannot be expected to know every law (especially when they change all the time) but more importantly one must know how to recall the information necessary and understand how to apply the research. Google is simply the fastest encyclopedia that constantly updates itself. No one would have reasonably thought encyclopedia's have slowed mental growth; they shouldn't think Google could do it either. The dumbing down of the nation has more to do with parents who have lowered expectations for their children and make excuses why someone else is to blame rather than their own kids.