questionsdoes the internet make people smarter or dumber?


Smart people get smarter. Dumb people get dumber.


Quick access to answers is great, but it has also lessened our need to retain knowledge. Why bother remembering facts when you can pull them up in 2 seconds on your phone or computer? I think at first, it was a great tool to "make people smarter", but as reliance on it has grown, that has swung more towards the "make people dumber" side...


I personally prefer to remember facts so I don't have to look them up all the time. On of my reasons for still have a dumb phone, I still prefer some mystery in my life. It makes it more interesting.


To quote Henry Jones Sr., "I wrote it down so I wouldn't have to remember it!" The internet gives us ready access to a much wider variety of information than we had previously--it's basically like having a library packed into our pocket. (Mileage for non-smartphone-owners, like me, may vary.) With the internet available, we train different mental muscles than we used to use: less memorization and filing of facts, figures, names and dates; more search, retrieval and source assessment. Doesn't make us smarter or dumber any more than the development of television, the printing press, writing, agriculture or flint tools did--it just allows us to channel our intelligence differently.


If I ever have a dumb moment I just hop over to Yahoo Answers and read the most recent questions. It makes me feel better knowing it could be much, much worse.


It makes me feel smarter. Prior to having an internet connection I was limited to interaction with others by geography. Most people I knew were either "book smart" or "practical world smart" with select few being both. Of course there were also those who couldn't find their way out of a paper bag with a picture instruction manual, but they seemed the exception to the rule.

The internet has taught me that there is a brand and flavor of moron for every situation and station in life. By simply being aware of this, and making some small effort not to join their ranks, I feel smarter. I imagine it's similar to watching Hoarders. No matter how behind you are on housekeeping, seeing their mess is a reaffirmation that you're not doing so poorly after all.


@sully51: I think there is a lot of merit to your answer. I know I unintentionally store less for recall later that I know I can find with a quick google search.


My only major issue is the effects the Internet is having on younger generations. It's changing how people think of information.

That along with smartphones, I believe it will effect how people view instant gratification. It seems kids get bored way too quickly now, and expect things RIGHT NOW.


@bogie21: I don't think the internet is at fault. Problems with the younger generation go back a little further than that.

“Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.” - Socrates


The internet is a tool, a utility. If you choose to learn to use it well, you can accomplish great things.

If you try to pound a hammer in with the wrong end of a hammer, it isn't the hammer that made you bad carpenter.


Neither, the Internet gives one the opportunity to become more educated or more well-informed on certain subjects if one chooses to use it that way.


@penrodius: not sure if you misspelled "dumber" on purpose or not....either way-FUNNY.


I find both. It allows you to learn a bit on many more subjects due to the vast information available. Look at a site and see an interesting headline and read the article. Do that a few times a day and you learn a bit about a lot of different topics. But with that there is the flip side. Instead of finding a subject that seems interesting and reading a book or more extensive reading you can look at a site or 2 quick and feel like you know about it while never learning about it in depth.

When I am bored I find myself looking at a few different websites and reading any article that seems interesting. It has allowed me to be able to discuss conversationally on many different subjects which is great for a "cocktail party" or networking event to be able to speak on many subjects but I also find myself not being an expert in any one area. With the vast amount of information available I have found it more interesting to read a bit about something new rather then a lot on 1 subject.


@morriea nailed it on this one. I couldn't say it better.


@dogbountyhunter1: Uhhh and if you don't know the "facts" ? Doesn't really make sense.


It depends how you use Internet? It just like a key.


@morriea: I'm pretty sure that @penrodius did that on purpose, since he/she also spelled 'definitely' wrong in several places, also. ;-)