The Brain Game: Is the Internet Really Ethical?

[ By on April 27, 2016 ]

It’s 2016. We live in an age filled with screens, tablets, music players and phones. You’re reading this exact post on some form of screen right now. Everyone is affected by the Internet and technology in our day and age– some more than others. Whether you’re a middle schooler who’s never grown up in a world without the invention of the iPhone or someone like my grandmother, who didn’t have wi-fi in her house up until a year ago, the Internet is a part of your life.

But have we ever stopped to think about how this constant connection to the web affects us? I know I, for one, am someone who worries about leaving the house without their phone and resorts to Googling basic things more than I’d like to admit. I’m not alone. It may sound like something out of a sci-fi novel, but it’s true– the Internet is reshaping our brains and how we think. Numerous studies have shown that having the ability to Google things and have the answers at the tip of our fingers actually changes the way we remember things. This study, as reported by The Telegraph, states that you can literally create an addiction to media (which is also rewiring your brain.) And although there have been a few cases where it’s shown to improve brain function, the cons seem to outweigh the pros.

If the Internet can have such devastating effects on our brains, why do we allow ourselves to be this exposed? Is it right to allow children to have as much screen time as they do? Is it right to encourage the usage of media and technology by schools, advertisers, and other public facilities? Is it ethical to bring this kind of burden on your children– leading them down the wrong path? Is the Internet really ethical?

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3 Comments on “The Brain Game: Is the Internet Really Ethical?”

  1. Hannah L

    Sara Gadigian-Padgett

    [ April 27, 2016 at 11:24 am ]

    The question surrounding the possible harm our increased use of the internet may have on us as a species is an interesting and complex one, and one that I know I’ve thought about many times. You do a good job detailing the negative effects that overuse of the internet has on the brain, as one can become addicted to this media, and have one’s brain somewhat altered as result of this use. But do the cons really outweigh the pros? The internet and its wide-spread accessibility provide the ability to obtain knowledge over any subject rapidly to any who perform a simple google search, thereby leaving us better equipped to form well thought-out opinions and viewpoints about the world in which we live. The internet, I would argue, has also left humans with a stronger ability to connect with each other by means of social media, though some may disagree with this statement. While I do not doubt that we as a species, and children in particular are overusing the internet, is there a happy medium to the use of this resource? What would that entail?

  2. Hannah L

    Kelley Nicholson-Flynn

    [ May 04, 2016 at 12:44 am ]

    Sara makes some good points above. And, this is a really interesting and complex issue!

    I tried to follow the study that was mentioned in the Telegraph article, but ended up with a dead link. I would love to examine carefully the studies about the effect of technology on us – both positive and negative. This is a situation in which the power and limitations of science are evident, no doubt. I think that the empirical evidence is critical in this moral issue.

    I also think that if you were to pursue this in an independent study, you might want to focus it a bit more – perhaps to social media…or portable devices, for example.

  3. Hannah L

    I agree that there are many negative effects to the brain, however there are many positive sides. The internet gives many opportunities to people; for instance, College. This is a way that the Internet is used to improve education. Maybe you will consider looking at this link, as it shows both negative and positive effects of the Internet.
    http://www.pewglobal.org/2015/03/19/internet-seen-as-positive-influence-on-education-but-negative-influence-on-morality-in-emerging-and-developing-nations/

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