Is the “information age” helping or hurting? Let me Google it.

Our generation is a new breed. Majority of college students today- us 20-somethings- are the first mass of people to have grown up entirely in the “information age”. That is, our parents- heck, anyone over 30- can remember a time in our not so distant past when there was no internet.

info age

If you had to do a research paper, you absolutely had to go to the library and find all your information by sifting through books. Today, every bit of information is at our fingertips at any time of the day and the thought of not having it gives us anxiety. This sudden “technology boom”, sometimes referred to as the “digital industry”, is being compared to how the industrial revolution shifted our world as we new it back in the 1700’s.

  info age

Although we now have instant access to almost any piece of information we desire, do you ever wonder if we are being hindered by this ability? Are we truly getting smarter with all this information or are we getting lazier at figuring out the answers to our problems?

We recently talked about these questions in my Business Ethics class and it really got me thinking. Every time I ever have a question, my first thought is “I’ll Google it.” Now I suppose it could make me smarter to be able to always have an answer, but how much of all of this information is actually sticking? Studies are now being done about the possible effects of the information age on our brains. We may have access to more information but our core problem solving skills are greatly diminishing and our attention spans are increasingly shorter. We’ve come to expect instant answers from Siri or Wikipedia or Webmd. The “information age” is becoming more like “information overload”.

info age

Of course, this is a theory and not everyone is the same. But in my judgement, it could only do us good to exercise our brains in ways other than how to phrase questions in a search engine. Instead of heading straight for our smartphones or laptops, maybe we should spend more time trying to solve our issues in ways that don’t involve the internet. It might just teach us something new.

By Tia Jay

One comment on “Is the “information age” helping or hurting? Let me Google it.”

  1. I think the jury is still out on the cognitive effects of having constant access to our “brain extenders”. However, I do believe retaining knowledge is essential for developing critical thinking skills. You can’t google context when developing critical thinking skills.

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