The Internet May Be Changing Your Brain In Ways You’ve Never Imagined

Five years ago, journalist Nicholas Carr wrote in his book The Shallows: How The Internet Is Changing Our Brains about the way technology seemed to be eroding his ability to concentrate.

“Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words,” he wrote. “Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.”

In the book, which became a New York Times bestseller and Pulitzer Prize finalist, Carr explored the many ways that technology might be affecting our brains. Carr became particularly concerned about how the Internet seemed to be impairing our ability to think deeply and to focus on one subject for extended periods.

Today, social media and digital devices have an arguably greater place in our lives and hold on our attention spans than they did in 2011.

So what has changed since Carr wrote his seminal work five years ago? We chatted with the journalist and author about how our increasing interactions with mobile technology might be affecting the most important organ in our bodies.

Since you wrote this book, the Internet has only taken on a bigger role in our lives. What are some of the main changes you’ve observed in the way we interact with technology?

When I wrote the book, the iPhone was still very new and the iPad had just come out. Social media wasn’t as big as it is today. So when I wrote the book, I was thinking about laptops and computers but not so much about smartphones. Of course, now the main way that people interact with the Internet is through mobile devices.

In the book, I argued that what we created with computers and the Internet was a system of distraction. We got the great rewards of having basically unlimited information at our fingertips, but —> Read More