The Internet’s Effect On Mental Habits

“For me, as of others, the Net is becoming a universal medium, the conduit for most of the information that flows through the eyes and ears and into my mind”(Carr 37). The ‘Net’ has been a superior way of communicating, reading and researching as well as cheating, providing bias news and indirectly making users brainwashed. The frequent use of students to the Internet allowed them to uniquely adapt, which sets a gap for teachers and scholars to divert these habits and teach the correct use of the Internet. The parallel universe the Internet exists in has altered the way students’ habits of digesting information due to their frequent use and adaptation of new technology. Students may not realize the effects of finding shortcuts and easier routes on the Internet; rather, they might compete to see who has collected the most efficient and immediate information. The most frequently used search engine on the Internet is Google. According to Carr’s research, Google’s mission is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”(Carr 42)

Students have trusted Google with their life when it comes to finding answers or useful information to help them with their assignments. Unfortunately, students have adopted a way of decoding and regurgitating information when it seems to them that the task provided is difficult or when they have procrastinated enough that there is no other chance but to copy Google. In the student code of conduct, that is considered cheating. Students’ reliance on Google’s results can create a thought of considering the act of cheating. Google, as a search engine, has a job, which is to help the user to find the best source for the best possible answer. As students use these the help of Google, if not careful when doing so, can have laziness and irresponsibility weather them and initiate them to take other people’s work, copy word for word and expect to learn and advance when doing so.

Collecting the information in favor of completing and ridding the burden of the assignment is by itself an unhealthy habit to get used to. The information is right, available and can be altered to fit the chore of the assignment. Not only that cheating may cause students to lose their positions at school or college but also will ultimately create an unnatural manner that may affect the student later in his college career. An unhealthy habit, without paying attention to it, may suddenly and rapidly worsen and expand. When students get used to skimming and swiftly reading without taking into thought, it starts to create a dilemma of experiencing and fully interpreting the text. Social media and the news have created a method to put out information for users by delivering it the way the creators want their audience to take it. Messages online were meant to be short and quick to understand as web users scroll through their social media and news interest’s feed.

Marc Prensky, the author of Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants states that “A result of this ubiquitous environment and the sheer volume of their interaction with it, today’s students think and process information fundamentally differently from predecessors”(Prensky 45). The web’s design of rapid flying specks of information has created a habit in students where their processing of thoughts have been shaped to take in small doses of thought in a structured way. Where if a student finds the online text hard to read or of long-length, he may choose to skim through reading and fidget out of concentration because of the affect of the internet on their mental habits. Google presents users with information that they use while wrongfully thinking they are learning much. Students may adapt to the bad habit of using Google to search for the fastest and best answer that may fulfill their assignment’s needs. The Internet is infamous for giving information that may be useless, biased or wrong which some users may think is the right way to receive and add knowledge.

Students take on an unnatural method when looking for their answers on the Google expecting the engine to fully understand what they are looking for and give them a model answer. Students cannot connect to the text the same way their predecessors did when the web did not exist. The reason may be that students of this generation have been surrounded by digital technology for the entire lifespan. The fact that the more reading done online, the harder it gets to relate and understand the text and forcefully creates a mind barrier that prevents the student from gathering all the points that may be portrayed. The frequent use and dependency on the Internet and its resources disconnected people’s minds from contemplating and implying their thoughts when studying a document. Its daily use can make concentration hard due to the misleading contents that fill today’s websites. The dependency of students on the Internet is not of their favor as it creates a mistaken thought that the knowledge they are receiving is real, valuable knowledge.

The technique used by news networks, which is giving shortcuts to the main point of the article, decreased the time and effort for the reader who is depending on learning about a specific thing. This then cuts the intellectuality of processing, relating, and contemplating of the reading. The idea of gathering responses and starting arguments from online readings for the advantage and growth of critical thinking of the user is non-existent with today’s representation of online information literacies. Students could depend on the Internet’s portrayal of material, but they must acknowledge the web is all internally connected. Almost every website and social media platform has presented advertisements and miscellaneous content far broad from what they might be looking for. Unrelated content may as well be present on an important company’s website like pop-ups and click bait links. As the Internet has gotten students used to fidgeting around and being unsettled, this may be another distraction that could then turns into an unconstructive habit.

Relying on the Internet can also let the student misuse its tools. Browsing off-topic articles or videos, scrolling through repetitive social media applications and watching unproductive videos are all ways of misusing the Internet, which can become a habit for daily dependent users. Allowing these misuses to fill up the time of the user can daunt their motivation to improve their reading skills and cause a severe loss of useful time that can be used to produce something worthy. Dependency on the Internet along with the bad habits of poor focus can add fuel to the fire as it has many things that can distract the student, deter the end goal of the browse and be ignorant to the pondering of the text and knowing the meaning and the lesson. The Internet’s superiority may have gotten the best of students and has turned them into “mere decoders of information”(Carr 38) that process information like a computers. Daily, Students come across web obstacles that if not approached with a critical thinking manner can sooner or later affect and change the student’s mental habits when processing and information from online sources. The student’s plan of action to make use of the Internet may have well backfired and has created a much bigger argument between the negative and positive effects on the student’s mental habits.