What I found to be totally ironic in Carr’s text, was the fact that while we totally and completely focus on our computers, we are actually unfocused and distracted as to the actual things we do on them. I’ve gotten into such a routine, that whenever I get back from class, I have to boot up my laptop. When I’m doing assignments, I constantly check to see if the little red email alert is there or not. And when I’m just surfing the net, I can have up to ten active tabs up at once. Needless to say, I’m addicted to the web.
Some psychologists are even classifying internet addictions as an actual health disorder: http://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2012/10/02/the-new-mental-health-disorder-internet-addiction/. What this says about us is that we become so codependent on technology, that we eventually let it run our lives.
Carr goes on to say that despite the fact that hyperlinks are supposed to expand our knowledge, it actually diminishes what focus we have. Studies actually showed that people who read the same text, one with hyperlinks, one without, showed a vast difference in retention. The subjects that had text with hyperlinks did significantly poorer in recollecting what they had just read, as opposed to the group that did not have any hyperlinks attached to their text.
As we focus less and less, we also tend to skim a lot more. Instead of reading long passages, the average person skims text. What this means is that we are constantly being distracted by jumping icons, flashy gifs, and hyperlinks. This is causing us to loose focus and to retain a lot less information than we used to. It may even seem that we’re all spiraling down towards being classified as internet addicts, and people suffering from ADHD. I remember reading an article a few years ago about the rise of ADHD diagnoses in the recent years, and the underlying causes.
One thing I definitely surmised from The Shallows, is just how distracting the internet really is. I mean, how many of us have been “interrupted” by a Facebook message or an email in the middle of a class or studying time? I think its a good idea to take little offline detoxes to ease the constant buzzing of the internet. While the internet can come in handy and save the day, it does have many flaws.