Backlit information at our fingertips: Are smartphones making us dumb?

Today’s youth have never known a time when information wasn’t at their fingertips.

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Close up of smartphone in hand by Japanexperterna.se on Flickr under CC BY-SA 2.0

Never have they had to go to the library, troll through encyclopaedias, buy “project notes” from the newsagent, watch documentaries  or undertake their own primary research in order to get their assignments done.

Nowadays, all they need to do is fire up the computer or reach for a smartphone. Go to google, type in some search terms, and voíla!

And yet, is there any evidence to suggest that this generation are smarter than the last, because of the Internet acting as a extra candle to light the way for students? 

Perhaps there is in fact more evidence that suggests the contrary.

If the answer to any question one could feasibly ask is likely to take you one minute flat to find, is there really any incentive to know, or remember, facts?

Is there any incentive to be curious; to get out there and find out things for yourself? To question what so-called “experts” tell us is the truth?

Is there any reason for young people to make personal meaning from the abundance of information that’s out there?

Do devices which connect to the net actually get utilised for their knowledge-growing potential, or are we mostly playing games on them? Are these games making us more creative, more socially intelligent, more clever? Or are we merely getting better at gaming? https://ateacherislikeacandle.wordpress.com/2015/10/16/addiction-and-fatigue-vs-creative-thinking-prowess-where-this-candle-stands-on-the-gaming-debate/

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LG TO PRE-LOAD ANGRY BIRDS RIO ON OPTIMUS SERIES SMARTPHONES by LG전자 on Flickr under CC BY 2.0

And is one’s knowledge of “stuff” really an adequate measure of intelligence that reflects current society and culture anyway? I suggest that the real intelligence is knowing when to scoop your smartphone out from the bottom of your bag, and when to bury it there.

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