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Is the internet damaging our abilities to focus and read books?

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posted on Aug, 4 2010 @ 03:49 PM
This thread was inspired by FortAnthem's thread here:

I used to be a great reader, finishing 2-3 books a week. Now i can barely finish 1 book every 6 months. I know the problem for me: I spend so much time on the internet, flitting from site to site, and article to article, never actually aborbing anything. I keep buying books that interest me, but I never take the time to read them. I have both Attention Deficit Disorder and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (regardless of what you may think of brain disorders and psychologists, I knew I had these problems before the doctor told me), and i feel they are exacerbated by the internet.

Studies show that people do not read these media the same way. On the web, we flit through articles, starting at the top, and moving down in an F pattern. we scan for keywords, and move on if we don't find them.

posted on Aug, 4 2010 @ 03:58 PM
I also have "ADHD" and slight "OCD" with certain things.
I have been on the internet for years,
and I still read books constantly.

No more trouble with them now, than before the internet.

I do have an issue with just reading one book at a time though,
at any given time, I am reading at least 3 different books. lol

Not all in the same moment of course, but I always have at least 3 books that I am working through at just about all times.

Everyone tells me, "that's not good, how can you focus?" lol
I dont know.. it's just how my brain works....

but to answer your Q from a personal perspective..
No, the internet has not had any ill effects on my reading/ability to focus.

it does take more of my time than Id like sometimes,
but it doesnt affect my ability to read or stay focused...

I think the worst thing the internet has done to me..
is make me lose a little bit of body mass/muscle. lol

i used to be much more physical before the internet...
so I am not as "toned" as i used to be..
I can even feel the muscles in my butt cheeks getting softer.

If we lost internet tomorrow, it would suck...
but I think would be a good thing.

I also think often... Why would TPTB want to kill the internet?

internet keeps people sitting on their asses, in their homes..
if they kill the internet..
what will all these people do?

I think they would Rise-Up and take action.. instead of simply reading and writing about taking action... ....

TPTB do not want that...

[edit on 4-8-2010 by Ahmose]

[edit on 4-8-2010 by Ahmose]

posted on Aug, 4 2010 @ 04:01 PM
The internet helps me find and buy books to for the internet is not damaging my ability to read books and in fact helps me

[edit on 4-8-2010 by Pockets]

posted on Aug, 4 2010 @ 04:21 PM
For the most part I dont read anymore. The occasional non-fiction book will grab me.

But fiction is tired. There hasnt been any new stories or methods of story telling in a hundred years. It's all the same over and over with goofy themes of the times.

It's like the first hundred pages of everything is all you need to know exactly what's going to happen and how it will be resolved.

Dennis Lehane said at a book discussion when somebody asked about Shutter Island and the wholly absurd set-up required to give the premise any validity that stories have been told for so long and the public grown so sophisticated that it's harder and harder if not impossible to surprise anyone with anything anymore.

We've run out of ideas apparently. Hence the popularity of reality TV and hollow sex and violence.

Eventually the self-depreciation of reality TV and the thrill of the violence and sex will wear out it's appeal as well.

Then we'll get lions eating christians on a Saturday night down in the town square.

There is so much media coming at us that what used to take a lifetime to absorb takes only the better part of adolescence. If you're eyes and ears are open you've literally seen it all and hear it all by the time you hit 18. You might not understand half of it but you've been exposed to all of it so nothing is new.

Maybe before it's too late more people will seek a return to the less common outdoor experiences that used to occupy so much of our time. Unfortunately for most of the Western world they'll all probably be too damn fat to give any of that stuff a try.

even up here on ATS it's just the same arguments from the same people over and over and over...

[edit on 4-8-2010 by thisguyrighthere]

posted on Aug, 4 2010 @ 04:24 PM
I never noticed much of a difference in mine. I still read books just as much as I use to. So maybe its just certain people it effects. Like you said you have ADHD and OCD so maybe it effects people with those disorders more. Brings up a good question though.

posted on Aug, 4 2010 @ 04:31 PM
reply to post by InvisibleAlbatross

I can speak for myself, it has not affected my focus or book reading. I am an avid book reader and every week I try to read atleast 2 books if not more even though I spend hours everyday on internet. If anything internet has helped me find more books of interest which I then buy or rent to read.

posted on Aug, 4 2010 @ 04:33 PM
I both read books and browse the web excessively for many hours every day.

But Im 35 years old. I didnt grow up with the web. It was around 1995 that I started using it. I was 20 then. Point being that it did not affect my brain while I was in in my teens. So I cant say how it might affect people growing up with it.

[edit on 4-8-2010 by Copernicus]

posted on Aug, 4 2010 @ 04:37 PM
Happiness to me, is to spend hours at a library, and I have said it before, that if they installed a food court, and showers, I'd live there.

Nothing makes me happier, than to walk into Goodwill, and find a book I had been drooling over for a while at the price of $2.00 bucks, versus, $26.00.

My wish for Christmas presents, is a gift card to book stores.

I spend a lot of time reading, the internet, and books.

I can't go to bed cuddling my laptop, but I fall asleep curling around a book almost every night.

Nothing will ever replace books!

posted on Aug, 4 2010 @ 05:03 PM
I don't read as much fiction as I use too but then my favorite authors don't seem to be publishing anything new lately. As for other reading material - I read a lot online, its my newspaper and educational tool. I don't think that's a bad thing, it is faster and I don't have to go searching at the library, I actually get in more quality reading.

posted on Aug, 4 2010 @ 09:44 PM
reply to post by InvisibleAlbatross

I read books like they are going out of style....which I guess is what your thread was implying!

I buy random books, sometimes for the cover (i know, i know!), sometimes for the little tidbits that say things like, "A wonderful book; a powerful read!" or something along those lines.

The internet is also my best friend. I find both books and the internet to hold a wealth of information that I can lose myself in. And I love it.

I'm a "young" mother, and I don't have a lot of friends my age, so my 'free time' is spent either reading or browsing the web (or ATS!) and I can do so for hours if I was allowed the time---which may or may not be a good thing!

One thing that I don't find particularly interesting are the new E-Readers. I wouldn't trade the smell of a new books pages, or the feel of folding up a paperback as I read it, for a piece of equipment that costs more money than I care to spend.

If you are looking for a good book, I just finished Eat, Pray, Love. I was skeptical at first, but now, after having finished it, I must say that it was pretty amazing.

Another book I just finished was This is Where I Leave You. That was also a pretty amazing book!

posted on Aug, 4 2010 @ 10:06 PM
reply to post by InvisibleAlbatross

I used to be able to read several books in one night. Now I struggle to focus on one and can barely get beyond a chapter or two in one sitting. Why is this? I'm not entirely sure. It may indeed have something to do with the way the brain gets used to processing info on the net. Shorter attention spans. Your mind moves much more, it needs to slow down for book reading. Perhaps, ofcourse, I am just out of practice.

[edit on 2010/8/4 by SteveR]

posted on Aug, 4 2010 @ 11:48 PM
the lecture which sparked all these threads did not say anything about the sheer number of books read- the dude said we now 'scan' books and text at high speed so the actual information is superficial to our brains.

Posted Via ATS Mobile:

posted on Aug, 4 2010 @ 11:52 PM
Reply to post by IandEye

.......and with the interactive clicking........and waiting.......and pop-ups.....we call these constant distractions 'multi-tasking' and we are doing it less and less efficiently....... and with more anger and ego. (I threw in that last bit) so really the internet is a prison which feeds only our pride and keeps us from knowing selflessness.

Posted Via ATS Mobile:

posted on Aug, 4 2010 @ 11:56 PM
as a kid I read ALL the classics from every country. but after college I swore I would never waste my precious life closing off the world to read a book ever again. oh- my first word as a baby was 'book' btw.

Posted Via ATS Mobile:

posted on Aug, 4 2010 @ 11:58 PM
reply to post by InvisibleAlbatross

What's this thread about? There is no YouTube video to explain it.

Couldn't you just say what it is you want to say and record it with a video camera, and add a cool soundrack and some flash and shockwave graphics and upload it?

This thread blows!

posted on Aug, 5 2010 @ 12:06 AM

Originally posted by Blanca Rose

Nothing makes me happier, than to walk into Goodwill, and find a book I had been drooling over for a while at the price of $2.00 bucks, versus, $26.00.

One of the thrift store i go to has hardbacks for $1 and paperback for $.50.
I get at least 10 a week.(i have a large pile unread in case the internet goes down)
But i read at about 600 words a minute so i can go through a book a day and still have time for the internet.
I am disabled so i need something to keep busy.

posted on Aug, 5 2010 @ 12:38 AM

Originally posted by Copernicus

I both read books and browse the web excessively for many hours every day.

But Im 35 years old. I didnt grow up with the web. It was around 1995 that I started using it. I was 20 then. Point being that it did not affect my brain while I was in in my teens. So I cant say how it might affect people growing up with it.

[edit on 4-8-2010 by Copernicus]

Very good point, dude.

Same here, I'm 30 and didnt have the internet until I was 23-24. lol
I feel it probably does 'mess' more with the minds of the youth.

I mean, look at those kids who play crap like WoW and 2nd life and that kinda garbage,
who go absolutely ape***t if their precious game/computer gets taken from them..
lol... they are seriously , freekin' crazy.

It's got to ef with their heads, man. lol

posted on Aug, 5 2010 @ 12:40 AM
I've noticed in the last several years that I read slower than I used to, though I think in terms of hours I read books almost as much as I ever have. Part of that is I spend more time thinking about what I'm reading, rather than rushing through it. The main reason I'm replying to this thread, though, is that it occurs to me that the approximate time I noticed my reading slowing down was about the same time I got a cable modem to replace dialup. However, I should also mention that two other major events occurred for me in the same period of time, one being that I started university, and the other being some serious health issues I had at the time. So at least in my case, it is definitely possible that internet use has affected my ability to focus on reading, but it could well have been one of these other factors, or some combination of them.

posted on Aug, 5 2010 @ 12:42 AM
of course it is. yes, it's unfortunate. but things progress. sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. as long as there are still books to read, i don't see it as a bad thing.

posted on Aug, 5 2010 @ 12:45 AM
This reminds me of an article I read (yes on the internet)
about how parents who subject their kids to those Baby Einstein videos actually train their kids to block out noises and ignore videos. Its better to have face-to-face interaction in learning.

Likewise, I have been listening to alot of audiobooks lately, and I think my brain is starting to be accustomed to a voice in my ear, so I'll be in the middle of an audiobook,and just start thinking of something else, which never happened when I first started listening.

I honestly believe that being able to flit from page to page and skim articles for the juicy parts does make one more impatient when it comes to reading actual books.

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