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There are so many things at stake with regards to the effect of the internet on people. Among others, a person’s social, psychological and intellectual behavior may be affected by the use of the internet.
One of the questions asked by intellectuals and social critic is whether the internet makes people smarter (Greenblatt 777). Thompson agrees that the internet makes information accessible but is concerned about how this information is being filtered by Google (Greenblatt 777). On the other hand, Levy is worried that the information overload of the internet no longer gives people time to think and process the data that they learn (Greenblatt 778).
The second question raised by the critics regarding the internet is whether it shortens the attention span. Some people have observed that they cannot read long documents anymore because they are distracted by different graphics, hyperlinks, email alerts and audios or videos that pop out while reading documents (Greenblatt 778). Lehrer meanwhile states that the internet helps develop the skill of paying attention to different things at the same time (Greenblatt 780). He goes on further to say that the internet “allows all sorts of new connections” (Greenblatt 780).
For Thompson, it is not an addiction to the internet; rather, it is more of a need to communicate any time (Greenblatt 781). Staudenmaier states that excessive use of the internet cannot be considered an addiction because it does not involve drugs and alcohol use (Greenblatt 781). On the other Cash argues that internet use can be an addiction which can result in health, relationships and work problems. (Greenblatt 780). She goes on further to say that in China and Korea internet addiction is already a primary health concern. When logging off becomes an extreme difficulty with individuals, it can be considered an addiction already.
A significant statistic that strikes one is that which showed that
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