The Internet and the Erosion of the Mind

by Yfur Porsche P. Fernandez

Despite the Internet’s appreciation as an accepted information source, non-adult consumers should still be aware of its limitations and threats.

However, while books are still regarded as the most trusted sources, sets of good references are also now available online.

A ‘rational’ choice?

As many people consider the Internet as an inseparable part of today’s educational system, increasing number of academic institutions view it as an almost, if not an indispensable component of a ‘revolutionized’ educational structure, especially in the post-modern culture.

While this medium has metaphorically minimized the pain and maximized the gain of students, researchers and other Internet-users, a direct consequence of it now flounders — as it moves closer to the consciousness of its principal consumer,the young minds.

Being mindful, not alarmist

The society (parents, private sector and education authorities) faces a demanding and challenging task of protecting students from negative elements the Internet has uncovered – including, but not limited to pornographic sites, sexual dating sites, and many others.

Putting it in context, though the Internet has irrefutably contributed useful and speedy impacts on today’s social DNA, it has unfortunately magnified sinister elements to flow liberally and navigate spontaneously, in an instant.

Highlighting the “goods”

Recognizing the share of Internet’s bad effects, many U.S. academicians nowadays, are promoting e-books, which are technically books, discarding the sensation of experience, due to its very nature of being “electronic.”

An article entitled Best References for Students Today presents a list of top websites that vows to address the educational needs of the students today.

The list includes general publications, electronic libraries, organization websites, government portals, news agency sites and other relevant materials. (Suite 101 Media, published October 14, 2010, accessed July 29, 2011)

Here are some of the links applicable to the Philippines:

Encyclopedia Britannica – an online version of one of the world’s most trusted sources of information on science and technology, history and society, arts and entertainment, travel and geography and many others

Information Please Almanac – a useful tool to search facts on a wide array of subjects

iTools Research –collection of online dictionaries, translations, quotations and more

Smithsonian Institution – a user-friendly site from the world’s largest museum complex and research organization

‘Erosion of the Mind’

Neil Maroki, in The Impact of the Internet on the Educational Systems in the New Millennium,says one major drawback of the Internet is the erosion of the mind.

He writes, “The Internet will eventually cause the mind to be obsolete simply because it will not be used anymore. For this reason, the thinking ability will greatly diminish and man will not be able to do simple things in the future.”

Maroki explains that it will greatly affect the educational process in the future because the thinking abilities of the students will be impaired and the information will be stored in the computer’s memory not in the student’s mind.

At the moment, what appears to be the problem is the limitless movement of information of “all” kinds. While there is already an option to filter searches, one can still choose to turn this option off as a human tendency.

The medium has apparently launched a wide array of risky and malicious content sources and research sites. Most of them successfully intrude the moral and values, if not tease young minds’ vulnerabilities.

An integrated role

Even though reference tools and research sites are now available in just few clicks, parents still have supervisory roles in a child’s consciousness-building.

On the one hand, public officials should make it a crusade not to stop framing tangible and accurate measures to lure away non-adult users from insidious mechanisms that aim at corrupting their minds — even if this means some sides affronted.

The Internet definitely has good use, as long as it is neither misused nor abused. Each of us may take part in wisely maximizing its advantages and utilize its product for a good cause.

While we may not, at this moment obliterate its share of disadvantages, we can start echoing our sentiments to debunk its “improper” use.

Though this may sound an ‘old moniker,’ the youth really is the frontrunner of the society, and therefore realistic preparations are necessary before win.