August 01, 2008

Internet vs. Books

I subscribe to World magazine, which I enjoy because it provides a Christian perspective on current events around the world. In the July 26/August 2 issue, there is an article that caught my attention about the internet and it's affect on our minds. It's called "Fleeting Thoughts: How the internet is eating my brain" by Janie Cheaney. Here's the link to the article.

To sum it up, most see a great benefit in the internet being a resource for a wealth of information. However, it may be changing how we read, and how we think. People tend to skim something, click a link and skim something else, and so on, following rabbit trails. I know I do! As she puts it, "five thousand words on a given topic makes the mind go deep; five links makes it go wide. Maybe even to the point of flattening." I certainly want my children to learn to think deeply and critically, not shallowly and aimlessly.

The author's practical recommendation was, "Ideally, children should be kept from the internet until they can comprehend book-length nonfiction in a variety of subjects. Since that seems unlikely, we can at least set aside 30 minutes of focused reading per day."

Sounds like good advice to me. As for myself, I think I better take a break from the internet and go read a book.

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