As a librarian, I am always interested in reading trends. Ask almost anyone you come across what they’re reading and they’ll most likely give you a blank stare. They will often give excuses such as lack of time or they don’t like to read. But could it be that they’ve lost the ability?
There are many alarming statistics regarding the lack of reading in our culture. They are readily available so I won’t list them here. What I want to address is, “WHY?”
Over the last few years I’ve been dismayed at the obsession with electronics in our culture. Because we are farmers, we rarely go on vacation but were blessed to do so earlier this year. Spending several days at large amusement parks was very enlightening…and disturbing. I watched thousands of people, young and old, immersing themselves in shallow activities, having shallow conversations, and worst of all, rarely going more than a few minutes (or seconds) without being glued to some sort of screen. Families were not having conversations over meals. They were checking emails or texting on their phones or iPads. They were surfing the Net while waiting in line for rides.
Now we all know the devastating effects this can have on relationships (except for our 300 best friends on Facebook.) But could it be that it can have devastating effects on our brains? Could it be that there are not only spiritual consequences to our habits, but physiological ones as well?
Over the next few weeks, I will be reviewing a most profound and important book. The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr explains in fascinating detail what happens physically to our brains when we spend time online. The results are very sobering so I hope you will visit again.
While you’re waiting, you might want to read the condensed version by Googling “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”
Until next week…