Easily Distrac-

Just the other day, when I was in the grocery store with my father, we began unloading our shopping bags filled with items into the shopping cart. Looking through the window I saw the sun was setting, so I decided to check the time on my phone, as soon as I unlocked my phone I went onto Facebook to check in. My immediate cease to help my father, just so I can briefly glance at my screen for a millisecond, resulted in an unwarranted response from a man standing behind me on line. “Wow, kids these days. Always on their phones and leaving everyone to do the hard work on their own.” My father then chimed in, without question, “I know! It’s like they’re a part of their bodies or somethin’.” Extremely taken aback by this interaction, I began to question everything; did something wrong by using my phone in this situation? Am I on my phone too often? Is Carr right? Are we always distracted by technology? So many thoughts were racing through my head just because I looked at my phone for a fleeting moment. I eventually came to the realization that, while yes, we can be easily distracted with technology, it’s not as big of an issue as Carr makes it out to be.

We get it, Carr, you seem to reiterate the same notions throughout the entirety of your piece. The concept that the internet is changing the way we process information, or in other words the way we think, might be true in some respect, but it’s only advancing society for the most part; it was even brought up on multiple occasions how incredible technology can be for human progressions, like with the creation of ELIZA for example. I think it’s important that we see technology as something to benefit, rather than something that can potentially harm our reasoning. Yes, of course, there are downsides to the Internet, it is, indeed, easy to become sidetracked when we have anything and everything we need to know at the tips of our fingers, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we can’t devote our undivided attention to a single task. The mere thought that we have the ability to access vast amounts of resources should be something of praise and not so much of critique. It was difficult to sit down and complete an assignment, the Internet or no Internet.

text
Photo from Mobile Text Alerts. “Young People Texting”

On the car ride home, after the incident at the grocery store, I let this feeling of turmoil sit inside me long enough so I turned to my dad and asked him why he said what he said. We had a heated debate on the use of technology, and how in his opinion, it was poisoning society. He then decided to bring up an observation, that when I was in high school and I would be doing my homework, I would be on my phone sometimes instead of really doing my work solidly. I then asked him if it were easy for him to just sit down and do homework when he was my age without becoming unfocused at all. He didn’t answer.

In my first response, I defended the ideas that Carr provided, the internet could possibly be a potential danger to our ability to just simply sit down and read a book without it becoming a daunting chore, but I’ve changed my mind, and in fact see it as kind of silly to completely blame the “Net” for that issue. Not fully committing to a task might just be human error, it’s hard to completely dedicate all your time and effort to something without being overcome with the feeling of boredom or fatigue. To my disappointment, Carr doesn’t seem to provide new insight, nor does he change direction at all besides just providing new ideas like, “the brighter the software, the dimmer the user” (216).

How exactly can we as a society change, if the use of the “Net” is so detrimental to our capability of staying focused, of loosening our ability to memorize, and changing the way we think? How can we “rewire” our brains in order to not let the Internet forever have a negative imprint on our thought process. I wish Carr at least provided us with an answer.

Author: Ashley M

I major in both Neuroscience and Cognitive Science at the University of Delaware. My goal for this blog is to provide thought-provoking responses to our use of technology, how it has changed, and how we use it today in order to have a better understanding of the ever-changing digital world.

3 thoughts on “Easily Distrac-”

  1. This makes me think- is it that people actually believe we are “addicted” to our phones or its “part of our body” or do people just say it because everyone says it.
    And it’s not only kids that can be on their phone too much. I know plenty of adults who are glued to their phones. Why are kids to blame?
    It’s not our fault technology grew up with us.

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  2. I really appreciate your contrasting points. I do find Carr a little redundant in his points which makes them a little weaker or less valid, I believe. Sure, the Net has influenced us in some seemingly negative ways, but it’s almost immeasurable to the way it’s expanded our capabilities and communications as people. The development of the very technologies talked about in the book are what have advanced our society so greatly in the past fifty to seventy five years. I think he fails to acknowledge this fairly.

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  3. I love how you started off your response with a real life experience because so many of us can relate to that.But some adults don’t realize that plenty of people their own age are also addicted to technology and social media and literally cannot do their jobs without it. And in that case, our generation will of course be even more likely to grow up hand-in-hand with the development of technology. We don’t engulf ourselves in technology because we are less intelligent, we do it because that is how we grew up and it is how the world works nowadays.

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