I remember reading a lot of articles from Kaskus, an Indonesian version of Reddit. There was a lot of news and information that I found very interesting and worthy to read, so I spent my hours fixated on the seat right in front of my laptop. Feeling full of knowledge, I walked outside of my room to grab some snacks just to realize a few steps later that I absolutely don’t have any clue on everything that I just read.
There are many researches on why the Internet has improved literacy across the world. Unfortunately, there is just as much research on why the internet can actually deprive someone’s ability to grasp information from a reading. Here are several ways the Internet deprives your literacy:
There is too much information for you.
In fact, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are added into it every day. This is good, as it enables you to gain the information you need with just a few clicks and types at any second every day (well, unless you lost your phone or the connection, or the internet magically disappears). However, consuming too much information can actually be detrimental to your brain.
Our brain has limited space to process information. Juggling from one information to another will fill it quickly and you will lose your focus. If you try to make decisions or learn from this overcapacity, you will soon find yourself staring at puzzles of words without anything to grasp.
The quality of content on the internet may not be as good as you think.
There are tons of good quality articles there where you can learn mind-blowing information such as the quantum-theory and value-investment. But there are equally as many hoaxes, misleading information, as well as poorly-written articles out there that can distract you from the good ones.
The problem is that, as you expose yourself to bad information, it will slowly deprive your logic and the ability to distinguish the good information from the bad ones. This is because most bad information lacks logic and therefore, easier to consume, and this will bring us to the third factor.
Deprives you of critical thinking.
We use critical thinking to solve complex problems encountered. When this is done, complex connections between one information and another are drawn, and this will train our brain into problem-solving. With the internet, however, answers are readily available and those steps are skipped.
Add bad-quality information, hoaxes as well as an overload of information, and this will only exacerbate the rate you lose your logical abilities.
It has become your external hard disk.
Often, we rely too much on the internet, “Just Google it” becomes the response to every question that arises from our mind. This is detrimental to your ability to store information in your mind.
By Googling every answer you need, you become less engaged with the information by training yourself to immediately search and find the answer to your questions instead of thoroughly processing and storing it. This ultimately brings us to the last factor.
You are detached from the actual meaning of reading.
Reading is actually a long process of engaging with information, carefully going through it to grasp all the logic behind it, and then digesting it into your mind. The internet, however, allows you to immediately find a direct answer to your question, therefore skipping the logical part of reading.
It also exposes you with too much information that may be irrelevant, therefore filling your brain with noises that disables it from properly digesting information, and exposing you to flawed and missing logic which damages your logic.
Now, what to do?
The internet may be a game-changer to those who know how to utilize it properly. But if you fall to those pitfalls, it is better to quickly learn and then adapt to the proper way of using the internet. Fortunately, there are so many guides to this on the internet. Just remember to read them critically, go through the logic, digest carefully to “note” it inside your brain, and most importantly, to practice the steps.