Is the Internet making us dumber?

A 2018 Norwegian study found that IQ scores are dropping 7 points per generation.  This trend follows an increase in IQ scores for most of the 20th century.

Several studies have found that people reading digital text skim more and retain less as compared with reading text printed on paper. 

Maryanne Wolf, “Skim Reading Is the New Normal. The Effect on Society Is Profound,”, Aug. 25, 2018

We have developed a false belief that our minds can multitask.  In fact, we cannot.  The “visitor information” app that monitors this website shows that most people look at no more than three pages on this site before leaving.  Maybe the site is not that interesting.  But,  maybe it has something to do with the attention span we bring to reading things on the internet.

The quality and span of our attention is affected by whatever addictions we have to on-line life.  The screen you are reading is the same screen that can bring you an endless variety of entertainment, social interaction, updates (of all manner), visual stimulation, gambling and shopping.  Those possibilities are always in the back of your mind when you are looking at a screen. 

Our addictions live in our minds. 

For many of us, this internet thing is like an alcoholic trying to do algebra while sitting in a bar.  At the same time, it is also where an alcoholic battling the addiction can find the support they need to leave the bar.