"The Shallows"

“Is Google making us stupid?” -Nicholas Carr

My husband is reading a book that I might not have found so interesting 2 years ago, but I found VERY interesting 2 days ago, and very sad at the same time.  Not sad in a “makes me wanna cry” kind of way; sad in a “I can’t believe these facts are true about people” kind of way.  I have continued to mull over what he was telling me about this book, and decided that I will be making some changes.

The book is called “The Shallows: What The Internet Is Doing To Our Brains” by Nicholas Carr.  The basis of this book is this… “an explosive look at technology’s effect on the mind”.   Remember, I haven’t read this book, but had quite a detailed conversation with Mike about it.  Let’s start with some facts… or the sad part as I might call it.

Fact: The average person reads 49 minutes A WEEK!
I was shocked by this.  That is 7 minutes a day.  Really?  That’s it?
As you all know, I am not average.  LOL!  I read at least 25 hours a week.
Do you read?  And if so how much?  Blogs do not count.  😉
Carr also pointed out that we should be reading things that make out minds think.

Fact:  The average person watches 35 HOURS of TV A WEEK!!
Wow!  The first thing I said to Mike when he told me that was “are you serious?!  That’s practically a full time job!”  I just can not fathom sitting in front of the television for that span of time.
I am also not average here.  I watch maybe 5 hours of TV a week.
How much TV do you watch?  Movies are included in this, so include those.

Fact:  The average person is on the internet 19 HOURS A WEEK!  This may not seem like a lot, but those 19 hours are NOT including work hours.  Just browsing and goofing off on the internet.
I have lessened my internet usage considerably in the last 2 weeks, so as of this moment, I am on the internet (not including ANY work stuff) maybe 4 hours a week.  How about you?

I don’t know about you, but those stats really got me disheartened.  I mean… what is so necessary that people need or want to spend that much time in front of the TV and that much time on the internet?

Now, let me be honest here.  I cringe when I hear someone say, “I hate reading.  It’s so boring.”  Why?  Because I used to be that person.  Yes, me!  I used to “hate” reading.  That is until I picked up a REALLY good book that I couldn’t put down.  And I found the genre I enjoy.  Boom, done!  I am a reader, and find myself wanting to read instead of watching TV or being on the internet.  Now, I am the person that says “I LOVE READING!  There are SO many great books out there, and I can’t wait to read them all!”  Now, if you don’t like reading, I will still like you, of course!  😉  I’m just saying maybe give reading another shot!

Carr also attributes people’s excuses of having ADD to the internet as well.  He also states that the internet is like a drug and so many feel the need to get their “fix”.

I get this.  100% understood this when Mike was telling me about it.  I used to be addicted to Twitter.  Needed to know what was going on ALL the time.  Now… I find myself not really caring as much.  Yes, I still like Twitter and all my Twitter friends, but to be honest, Twitter is a mind suck and a time suck!  Before you know it, 2 hours have gone by, and nothing has gotten done, and your brain hasn’t gotten any form of workout.  The same goes for email.  Feel like you constantly have to check your email?  Or every time your iPhone beeps letting you know you have a new email do you feel that need to have to check it?  *insert the word addicted here in a sing song voice*

I feel like there is so much always going on on the internet, so it can make me feel less focused.  Hence the ADD remark in Carr’s book.  So so true for me.  I hear many people say they can’t focus or they have ADD, but I bet when it came down to it, it could be all that internet time.  The Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, Emails, etc, etc so on and so forth.  And!  I bet most of you will end up skimming this post, because it’s so long… am I right?  That was another thing Mike was telling me about that book.  So many skim or bounce all over the place, because they can’t seem to focus.

Here is a great excerpt from Chapter 8 of Carr’s book:

The development of a well-rounded mind requires both an ability to find and quickly parse a wide range of information and a capacity for open-ended reflection. There needs to be time for efficient data collection and time for inefficient contemplation, time to operate the machine and time to sit idly in the garden. We need to work in Google’s “world of numbers,” but we also need to be able to retreat to Sleepy Hollow. The problem today is that we’re losing our ability to strike a balance between those two very different states of mind. Mentally, we’re in perpetual locomotion. . . .”




So… do you get it?  What is the internet doing to your brain?


I will write a follow up post about what I am doing to “change my brain”.  Because Carr quotes studies and talks about rewiring the brain, and changing how we do things.  This conversation with my husband about this book has definitely shown me how I want to change my habits.  Is the internet a bad thing?  I definitely don’t think so, but I think it’s like everything else in life … balance.




Ta-Ta for now friends!

XO,

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6 Responses to "The Shallows"

  1. Jenniffier says:

    I just found this book yesterday while I was searching on my kindle and downloaded a sample. After reading your post; a long one indeed :). I am considering buying the book. Thanks for the info on the book.

  2. Katie B. says:

    Very interesting. I read this statistic recently (in an article by Stephen King in Entertainment Weekly): " a third of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives, and 42 percent of college grads never read another book after college." Do you think that can be true? It makes me very sad! I definitely spend too much time on the internet and watching tv too, but I try to save some time for reading every day.

  3. Celeste says:

    So so true. The internet is such a time sucker. There's just so much…but I have been finding myself only really going to certain websites/blogs — and that has really cut-down on my internet time. I limit where I go & what I do online. – which gives me so much more time to read. I might just have to read this book! Sounds interesting.

  4. Jessica says:

    Really interesting topic. I suppose one could also delve into the grade level at which books in the US are written at, so even those of us who are readers aren't stretching our minds as much as we would hope. I am a reader, but I freely admit I spend a LOT of time reading "brain candy.". I also spend a lot of time online, I think I watch less tv than I used to, but struggle with letting my kids watch too much. One brilliant thing the Internet has done is allow for those who are visual or auditory learners to have unprecedented access to learning tools.

  5. All I have to say is, To each their own! I don't think it really matters to other people how much I read, watch TV or surf the net. And I could really care less what someone else spends their free time doing. You just have to do (or not do) what you think is best for you and your family. Just my two pennies… 🙂

  6. Barb in Mi says:

    I LOVE to read – and ditched my TV about 4 years ago. But: I do spent quite some time online… Love audio books, too – because you can sew or drive and listen. Will look for the book in my library – only downfall of books for me is their price if & when you read a lot.

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