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How Google is killing you, your kids, and the next generation

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
December 28th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A famous British inventor and tinkerer has made a very public and damning statement against the internet and the dependency it creates in the world's youth. Trevor Baylis, famed inventor of the wind-up radio, told the UK's Daily Mail the internet is leaving children "brain dead."

LONDON, UK (Catholic Online) - Many of us spend at least a part of our day, mindlessly scrolling through banal Facebook and Pinterest feeds, saying to ourselves, "how cool!" and "I wish I could do that."

According to Baylis, this is hurting us, particularly as children follow our example.

Today, when people encounter problems, no matter what they are, we turn to Google for the solution. Need an idea? There's Pinterest and the rest of the internet. The answers to virtually everything are but keystrokes away; Uncle Internet has replaced many real uncles because Uncle Internet knows everything.  Worse, we are turning to the internet to solve our problems rather than developing our own, creative solutions.

This is the problem. With answers so quick, we have no incentive, nor need to use our brains.

This is killing our inventive spirit because instead of tinkering and solving problems on our own, we're relying on the knowledge of others to do the heavy mental lifting for us. Why bother with trial and error when the internet has the quick solution?

It may seem very smart to simply Google something and find the answer; Google is a seductively powerful resource.

And when the toilet is overflowing, that's certainly no time to tinker. However, the brain needs a workout and with Google there to do the heavy-lifting, our brains become weak and dependent.

The 75-year old inventor told the Mail, "Children have got to be taught hands-on, and not to become mobile phone or computer dependent. They should use computers as and when, but there are so many people playing with their computers nowadays that spend all their time sitting there with a stomach. They are dependent on Google searches. A lot of kids will become fairly brain-dead if they become so dependent on the internet, because they will not be able to do things the old-fashioned way."

Baylis recalled how he was given an old "Meccano" set, similar to the Erector sets that were once popular in the U.S. Playing with the set he says, he developed his creativity and skills which served him both as an inventor and in everyday life.

So what's the solution?

According to Baylis, it's to teach the youth to tinker and to avoid the quick and easy solutions to problems, as a form of mental exercise.

This goes for adults as well.

So instead of scrolling Pinterest for your next creative solution, or simply Googling instructions for your kid's project, why not try a little trial and error, and tinkering. It may cost a little more and take longer, but the problem-solving skills and thinking exercise is more than worth it. For if there's going to be a next generation of inventors, they'll be created by resourceful thinking, not Google.

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