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Is the Web Making Us into Dummies?

, Graz University of Technology, Austria ; , Deutsche Zentralbibliothek für Wirtschaftswissenschaften, Germany


With the rapid penetration of the Web into all areas and niches of society there is also an increasing number of warning voices: that the Web leads to more and more plagiarism; to the spreading of half-truths; to mobbing with sometimes deadly consequences; to an erosion of morality due to sites full of pornography and brutality; to the loss of memorizing ability since we store less and less in our brains and more and more on the Web; to a reduction of the ability to reading complex matters; to a myriad of interruptions and intrusions preventing any coherent and deep thinking; to networks of pseudo-friends whose maintenance eats up all productive time; to a life that takes place more in cyberspace than in the real world. One early target of complaints have been search engines with which we "build up a distorted reality"; this was followed by researchers who seemed to show the rather negative effects of new (social media) on learning; and it has culminated in a German bestseller written by the well-known cognitive neuro-psychologist Manfred Spitzer on "Digital Dementia: How we make sure that all of us are getting stupid". In this paper we present some of the major and potent arguments showing the danger of the Web. We all should be aware of them, since some points are indeed well-taken. However, some others are ill founded or plain wrong. It is important to see both pros and cons as we will try to do.


Maurer, H. & Tochtermann, K. (2013). Is the Web Making Us into Dummies?. Presented at EdMedia: World Conference on Educational Media and Technology 2013. Retrieved November 20, 2019 from .


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