Click to be thick?
It has been described by the head of Google as the “largest experiment in anarchy we have ever created”. Scientists believe it’s responsible for our inability to concentrate and that with all its distractions and diversions it is dumbing us down. What is this evil that has changed the way we think, shop and behave? The internet, according to the experts, and they seem to have a point.
I used to devour a newspaper, or chunks of a book, without lifting my head. I was lost in the world the words created. Now I can’t even finish this introduction without checking my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, emails, texts and apps. Every 20 seconds I veer off-piste to open a hyperlink, scroll through my mobile messages or flick and flip through a digital photo gallery. And when I’m not swiping, sliding or tapping, I’m clicking. It means I’m multitasking to the max but achieving very little.
The web-wary movement says our reliance on the small screen is rewiring our brains and that the architecture of the internet and devices we use to access it are eroding our ability to focus, understand or interpret information. Soon the lean-in generation will suffer from cognitive overload where our memory can’t function properly and we can’t sift the important stuff from the trivia. Ultimately, the boffins argue, we all become isolated by our interaction with the net. So what’s the answer? It’s easy to say “switch off the phone and step away from the iPad”, but going digital cold turkey is impossible for many of us. Read our fascinating report on page 28 and let me know if we’re a nation of digital zombies – or just well connected. Until next week,