Tag Archive | Internet

I am so smrt!… phone.

OpinionSmartphones are becoming prevalent rapidly, nearly half of all adults have at least one. Why wouldn’t they be this popular? They are a computer, that is as powerful as my old full-sized PC, that can make phone calls; how awesome is that? Why wouldn’t they be popular, You can do a damn lot with them.

They are being used throughout our days with any time we have to spare. If you’re sitting around watching TV and an advertisement comes on, you pick up your phone to check the news, social networks or play a game. It’s always on and it fills in time brilliantly but does this constant time-killer make us more stupid?

People like to state this constantly. They don’t question it, they state that smartphones are making us dumb. Among the statements made, in regard to this, is that we no longer need to memorise things like phone numbers and addresses but why would you memorise something you know how to find?

I truly can’t understand how people believe these little computers are making us stupid. It is information constantly available at our fingertips. If someone states something that they heard as a truth and it sounds rather dubious, you have the ability to pull out this device and find the facts. It doesn’t mean you will just find them at that moment and forget instantly after. You will be very likely to memorise that information for the next time someone states the same thing. If anything, in this sense, it is just making it harder for false information to travel around.

For example: someone told me that the reason they put lemons or limes in the necks of Corona cervaza’s is to keep the flies out. This sounds reasonable enough but it doesn’t really sound precise. I quickly looked it up and found this isn’t true. The most probable reason that it became a popular practice was, as stated by a Corona representative, “Corona is bottled in clear glass, and before modern methods of refrigeration and transportation, the opportunity for spoilage from exposure to sunlight was increased.”

The main reason I am against the idea that they make us dumb, is that it allows constant connection to the Internet. The Internet is definitely making it easier to educate people and people are more inclined to educate themselves using the Internet. No classes, no asking “stupid” questions in front of other people, no socialising, etc…

The Internet also allows us to look up things, with relative ease, that we would have had to visit the library or owned a set of Encyclopedia’s to find out. How can that not make us smarter. I see it like this: 20 years ago someone would have told me that Corona story and I would have had to accept it because it would have been difficult to discover the correct information.

I would like to hear some good arguments in support of smartphones making us dumb, as I have yet to come across one.

Here’s some other opinion pieces on this subject:
http://www.business2community.com/mobile-apps/are-smartphones-making-us-stupid-058217
http://gentlemenslounge.org/2011/11/do-smartphones-make-stupid-people/
http://blogs.news.com.au/technology/blog/index.php/news/comments/do_smartphones_make_you_smarter_or_just_more_smartphone_reliant
http://tryingtobeastylishmom.blogspot.com.au/2011/12/smartphones-are-making-us-stupid.html
http://www.heidi-miller.com/2011/08/how-smartphones-are-making-us-smarter.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-wygant/are-smartphones-making-us_b_783750.html
http://www.education.com/magazine/article/smartphones-kids/
http://rixxblog.wordpress.com/2011/09/09/smartphones-making-us-smarter/

Internet addiction disorder or psychologists over diagnosing disorder.

OpinionOccasionally in the news, or those “fantastic” current affairs programs, there is talk of Internet addiction. Psychologists have a name for this, it is IAD (Internet Addication Disorder). Could this be an actuality, or is it just more over-diagnosis from psychologists with nothing better to do? At least there is probably some truth to it; unlike the great Wind Turbine Syndrome.

My argument against this is that I don’t believe anyone actually becomes addicted to the Internet but they become addicted to something the Internet provides them*. There are lots of studies that have looked into this and have found similarities between Internet addiction and gambling addiction. These similarities tend to be there because they are looking at an addiction that does not involve an intoxicant. I believe that gambling addiction differs by having a possible end financial benefit. I don’t see how Internet addiction can be compared to this.

It seems (from the abstracts, not the whole papers) with a lot of these studies they are aiming at social networking addictions. Now, I know that I will possibly fall into this category. I enjoy Facebook and Twitter among other things but I have always been “addicted” to these things. You could also say I was addicted to IRC, ICQ, MSN, Myspace, and Last.fm as the technologies changed. I wouldn’t call these an addiction to the Internet; above all else I would call these an innate need to procrastinate.

Computer loveMy addiction to all these technologies is more an addiction to communicating, socialising without boundaries, and information. The addiction to information is the main addiction, but would anyone really call this an addiction? Originally it was looking for information on how to use these technologies to their fullest. I was constantly trying to understand how it all worked and whether I could use it to my advantage. These days I am still doing those things but along with this I am also constantly reading up on things that interest me. In writing up these blogs I will read through scientific papers or at least the abstracts of them, as I can’t afford to purchase a license to be able to view the whole paper.

I’m not sure of this but I think most people that would fit into the diagnosis of IAD would all use the Internet in a similar way. They would use the Internet to socialise with friends and even with strangers. They would use it to research information about subjects that interest them. I would never call this an addiction myself, but then maybe that is because I suffer from IAD. Can I get a disability pension please? Medical cannabis would be nice also. HIT ME UP!

*I understand all addictions could be argued to not be based on the device/intoxicant but what it provides them. Most addictions are for specific gains whereas the Internet has such a huge variety of “highs.”
**No, posting this late at night does not go towards my IAD. I am doing work on a stupid Windows server and filling in time by writing this.

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