In recent weeks I’ve seen articles about how reading is good for your longevity. Then today I found a list of five suggested books to read this summer and noticed something. Two were plays, two had already been made into movies and the last one; it was about how the internet is making us dumb.
I have in fact heard on several occasions the idea that in the age of instant everything, including answers, we’re becoming dumber. People want instant answers, knowledge, information, satisfaction. It’s becoming an epidemic of a total lack of patience.
Why wait to learn reading, writing, math, when the answers are right at your fingertips on the internet. Why bother to even retain any facts because you can just look it up again online.
When I was in school they at least attempted to teach us how to convert from our system of measuring to the metric system and back again. Who even remembers any of that? Just look up a conversion chart online.
My sister has a book with a perpetual calendar in it, but why bother looking things up in that. Just find the chart online. Let the computer algorithm find the date information you need in a matter of seconds.
Nowadays there is an app for just about everything, even finding trivia.
The problem with all this is it does make us dumber. We stop reading the books. We stop retaining information. We stop learning.
In Ally Condie’s “Matched” dystopia series she creates a world where people are so dependent on the information on the internet that they can’t even write. They don’t even know how to form letters. They don’t compose so much as a note without plagiarizing from what they find online. They literally just copy and paste words and phrases into the order they want to use. When the leading lady learns to actually write her own name, it’s a new thing to her.
You would think something like this was farfetched, but in this day and age, it really isn’t. We are really almost there.
Today’s kids have little time for patience.
They don’t understand waiting for anything, least of all information.
They’ve never had to wait for the slow churn of an ice cream machine to enjoy that cool confection.
They’ve never had to entertain themselves for an entire long, hot summer day with nothing but a park, and maybe a swimming pool, or a bike.
They’ve never had to get themselves across town without a parent to drive them, so it was either hoof it or bike it. No matter how long it took.
This Pokémon Go craze was intended to get people out and walking around, but there is apparently ways to get around that. My boys are playing it. My son has figured out how to convince the app he’s gone places like France, Britain, Brazil and Seattle. All yesterday, while sitting in his bed on his computer.
Kids want instant gratification without the effort to earn it.
Personally, I hope that being a reader thing includes reading WIP’s, because I don’t get a lot of time to actually read books nowadays between writing and you know, that busy mom thing I do every day.
I think we need to do better teaching that patience is a virtue and anything worth having is worth working for.
Maybe we need to turn off the tech more. (I say as I type on my computer with five internet tabs open.)
Smile. Make the day a brighter day.