A recent article in the Atlantic Monthly asks: Is Google Making Us Stupid? This was then the subject of a NY Times article:
By MOTOKO RICH
Published: July 27, 2008
Is the Internet the enemy of reading, or has it created a new kind of reading, one that society should not discount?
Here are further resources from the NY Times:
By MOTOKO RICH
Published: July 17, 2008
What does it mean to read in a digital age? Here are links to some studies, speeches, reading tests — old and new — and other resources.
This sparked a fascinating Lookjed discussion which I participated in on the Internet and Talmud.
Personally, I do believe that the Internet has been detrimental to traditional reading. Students today probably find it much more difficult to read a full length novel than a century ago. However, I am not sure if it is much worse than 30 years ago when children were watching television instead of reading. By that criterion, the Internet youth culture of today might be a vast improvement over the TV watching culture that I grew up with. The reason is that TV is a fundamentally passive medium. You sit on your couch watching TV and vegetate, thus the term couch potato. The Internet is anything but passive. You are actively engaged in a dialogue with members throughout the globe. Using Internet, you seamlessly transition from reading, to writing, to watching, and back again. This active medium might encourage critical thinking although this would require a great deal of research to prove or disprove my theory. As they say in the rabbinic literature, Tzarikh Iyun, it requires in depth investigation.