Is the Internet Degrading Our Reading Comprehension Abilities?

Most people would say that the Internet has helped our society.  Information is easily and quickly accessible by just typing in a question or phrase on a search engine, such as Google or Bing.  We are quickly guided to the answer without the need to read any additional information.  So what’s the problem?  The issue is the fact that this ease of accessing information has made our reading skills very poor.

Reading comprehension skills stem from the invention and use of the printing press.  As a result of the printing press, people could easily access printed works.  With the greater quantity of books, literacy rates rose and reading comprehension skills improved.

Here’s a scenario to think about.  You need to write a research paper on a topic such as agriculture.  Okay, easy enough I’ll just type “agriculture” into the search bar and I will find thousands of results.   The first five or six should give me enough information for my paper.  But here’s the twist.  There is no Google.  It is 1989 and computers are not a household item.  So what do you do? Go to this ancient place called a library where you actually have to check out physical books and sit down and read those books.  Also, you cannot simply skim the books because you will miss pertinent information you can use in your paper.  Sounds tough right?

The sad truth is that many people would not even know how to research a topic without using the Internet and a search engine.  For most Internet users, finding an article that is more than three paragraphs throws up a red flag and we look for something shorter.  We are drawn to anything that is brief instead of understanding concepts completely.

Overall, I believe this is detrimental to our future.  How will we be able to learn anything if we refuse to read anything longer than a few sentences?  I feel that we are in danger of losing our intelligence to artificial intelligence.

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