Does Google Affect How Students Think?
It is pertinent that we establish first of all, before diving into the topic “The Impact of Google on the Way Students Think”, that the improvements, developments, and, advancements in science, technology, and their products in the 21st century are vast and quite undeniable. Ranging from the prestigious fields of health sciences, astronomy and to the subject matter of today, Information and Communication Technology. Even in other fields that are not in any way related to science, such as arts and business, the impact is felt in such a way that helps to improve ease in the life of the common man.
However, it is a well-known cliché that almost everything in existence has its dark sides and disadvantages and science and tech is not an exception. There are many ways by which tech concepts and products affect the physical and most especially mental health of their users. A perfect example of these disadvantages is the negative effects of Google on the way students think.
Google company and all of its subsidiaries have quite a lot of positive effects on our daily lives. Talk about the Google mailing service (Gmail) which is the most used free electronic mailing service, Google Maps which helps us navigate when we’re almost lost, or the Google Primer which gives people free access to courses they would pay to access on other platforms. These are a few of the reasons why Google positively affects us. But have you ever thought of the unnoticed harms and damages Google, and specifically its search engine may be causing?
It has been confirmed that mass academic failure especially in African countries is approaching its peak with the steady increase in internet accessibility, especially amongst the youth. The thinking culture is rapidly fading and being replaced by “searching” before the young population strongly believes that “googling it” is the solution to every one of their problems. Either academic or in a real-life instance.
Negative Effects of Google Search Engine
There are a lot of ways by which Google affects students’ thinking abilities. Below are a few of the numerous ways:
1. Inability to brainstorm and innovate
In the olden days in Africa, Nigeria specifically. The proof of education is the ability to dress corporately and speak good English but over the years, the standard for showcasing the impact of education gradually shifted from mere spoken English to the ability to think critically and creatively to solve problems in an innovative way that will facilitate sustainable development, that is, solving today’s problem without compromising the future generation.
Unfortunately, many Gen-Z youths prefer Google searching since they trust Google to provide them with all answers. Furthermore, academic institutions that allow the overuse of the Google search engine have higher chances of suffering extreme reputational demolition as the students may grow depending on Google, therefore captivating their thinking potential.
2. Depreciation of Information Value
“A researcher is a person who examines facts and data to come up with totally accurate theories.” Today, the bitter truth remains that the definition has been modified to “a researcher is anyone with the ability to utilize Google” because almost all our student research is based on the unconfirmed answers provided by Google.
Real research work requires quite a lot of physical and mental efforts to gather, examine and integrate data and provide answers to many questions from the masses. But nowadays, it seems like researchers tend to have more questions to ask Google than the masses. This habit has affected how we view and the value we place on the information because it appears cheap and easy to get. At least, when Google still exists.
As humans, almost everything that we do online one way or the another affects our perspectives of basic life concepts such that overuse of Google tends to make us believe that there must always be a clue, hint, answer, or even any easy way of arriving at the answers at all times even when there’s none. Moreover, quite a lot of students can’t resist the urge to consult Google for their assignments and school projects instead of textbooks. What they fail to realize is that Google provides the answer and stops at the answers while textbooks provide better answers and never stop to broaden your knowledge about concepts.
Researchers conclude that we learn to rely on Google rather than on our memory when it comes to storing long-term knowledge. This sense of over-dependence won’t help students in any way.
4. Contradiction in Answers (Confusion)
Students who fancy Google search face a lot of problems and contradiction in answers is an essential one to consider. There are lots of websites and organizations that provide answers on Google and a lot of them provide answers that contradict one another, therefore students find it difficult to maintain and defend a particular perspective when others are trying to force their way into their heads. This kind of situation often leads to nothing but total confusion. And if care is not taken, it may eventually lead to the failure of such students.
We must also consider the fact that the answers on the internet are not necessarily provided by experts but also by random slightly educated personalities who have access to the internet. In my opinion, the internet is a pool of random opinions expressed in beautifully crafted words, anyone who doesn’t have his thoughts may drown in it.
The Solution to the Problems Caused by the Google Effect
The Google effect represents all the problems caused by the overdependence of this generation of students on Google. These problems have very simple solutions that are quite easy to apply. They are:
1. Study with Textbooks:
Good textbooks written by great minds never disappoint those who find pleasure in reading them rather than looking for cheap short-term answers on Google. Therefore, students should cultivate the habit of reading.
2. Do Your Own Research:
Students are also advised to spend more time gathering information (in real life) about the concept they are interested in. It allows you to learn more about the subject both within and outside your locality.
3. Get Reoriented:
Students should be re-orientated so that they know that Google is not the peak of knowledge and that true knowledge exists in real life, they just have to seek it.
4. Redevelop Your Critical Thinking Skill:
Students also need to redevelop critical thinking skills so they have their thoughts and avoid being tossed around by what they see on the internet.
It is also important for students to learn that life is not always about academics alone, there are also other areas where they can extend their knowledge. Exploration boosts their self-confidence to an extent where they will find it unnecessary to even check Google for answers.
True knowledge is all around us, it is powerful and it’s only for the egg-headed. Are you one?