I hear a lot of talk about people being “disconnected” or their phones making them “stupider.” Well, if that’s true, that’s their fault. A smartphone is a tool, and it’s either as stupid or as intelligent as its operator.
You can use a magnifying glass to solve a mystery, or you can burn ants with it. You can use a hammer to build a house, or you can use it to commit murder. You can use a chainsaw to cut firewood, or you can use it to mutilate naive, road-tripping teenagers in the woods. You can use a smartphone to find out which celebrity you most closely resemble(psssst! All those apps do is randomly select pics; try again and you’ll get another one. You really don’t look like Jennifer Aniston), or you can use it to google answers to questions you’ve always wondered about, or to verify facts or to read up on things of substance and significance. You can get real-time updates on anything.
Your phone can access more info than can be stored on the shelves of the all of the biggest, oldest libraries in the world combined. You simply have to know how to look for it.
When I was a kid, old people would say “Go to the library and look it up!” And now people of my generation share memes with pics of card catalogs and captions that say stuff like “the original Google.”
Ummm, okay. That was great if you wanted 20-year-old info from an encyclopedia with an occasional surprise booger stuck to a page, but when the internet came along, I recognized it as a powerful learning tool immediately and used it as such.
That’s not to say I don’t do my share of frivolous stuff on it, but I can honestly and confidently state that the internet, especially since the advent of smartphones, has indeed helped make me a smarter person.
Still, if you don’t have a fine-tuned bullshit detector, you can brainwash yourself to unprecedented levels of stupidity and ignorance. Unfortunately, that’s far more prevalent than people actually using the internet for their personal edification. But that’s their fault. Don’t blame the hammer because you keep smashing your thumb with it. Blame the person wielding it.