Miscellaneous

CONTENTS:

1. Anonymous / History Course Proposal

2. Chevonne McInnis / Online Pornography Impacts a Generation

3. Zoe Papetti / Stumble Upon and the Exploration of the Digital Age

ESSAYS:

1. Anonymous / History Course Proposal

To Whom It May Concern,

There is a lack in diversity of the history classes provided at SUNY New Paltz. According to the school website, most history classes offered are United States and European history, which is fantastic, but that leaves out the rest of the world. That is not to say classes in these other categories are not offered; they are very limited, as opposed to Western history. If there is no variety in history classes, different perspectives are not represented, and only one side of history is presented. The simple solution would be to hire more history professors. However, this issue may not prove to be so simple, with current budget cuts and especially with the lack of general interest in history. And yet the university could offer a brief, one-credit modular course that will help students differentiate between the myths and realities of history, which will then generate more interest in the subject.

Susan Lewis, a professor at SUNY New Paltz who is currently supervising one-credit history independent studies and fieldwork, confirms that it would cost the school no more than $1,000 a year to hire an adjunct instructor for the proposed class. The class, about the size of 20 students or more, would meet once a week for a few hours to discuss what is taught in public schools and what actually occurred in history, and, perhaps briefly, why history is taught the way it is (because the question will inevitably arise). They could also view clips from and discuss Hollywood historical films because the films are almost always full of inaccuracies that become part of myth building and the creation of common misconceptions. Furthermore, as a first-year student, I am constantly trying to find ways to fill gaps in my schedule so that I can meet the recommended 15 credits per semester, and qualify as a sophomore in my second year of college, which will allow me to take higher-level courses. I know I am not the only one encountering this issue, as many other students are also scrambling to find classes that are open to them and add up to 15 credits because they would like to graduate in the recommended four years. As a result, many students end up with an unsatisfactory schedule because the amount of classes available to them is limited. This proposed class might also be a remedy for this problem, as it would enlighten students on how fascinating history truly is.

Winston Churchill once said, “History is written by the victors.” If this is true, who are they to be? When Rome expanded its empire, those who were defeated were slaughtered or sold into slavery. Since this is no longer valid, at least in civilized societies, there are always two sides of a story, often more, rather than the solidary conviction of the victor. There is the lie people are told without words that there is only one truth. This has been accepted without question and has become the cultural hegemony. In reality, there are two kinds of history. There is the history that is written down, and the history that is not forgotten, but slips through the cracks; the one that was always there, but requires seeking. All people have to do is look, and the proposed class will guide students in this process of inquiry and discovery. Many students are not aware that American historiography in public schools is alarmingly biased, as it mainly focuses on the “good” events and overlooks the unheroic ones in American history. Students are not even aware that they are not aware, hence, the established cultural hegemony. It may seem daunting when beginning to learn about history, since so much is not taught in public school systems without misrepresentation, but this class could be a start.

As stated by the American Legion, the ideal textbook must: “inspire children with patriotism; be careful to tell the truth optimistically; dwell on failure only for its value as a moral lesson; [and] speak chiefly of success….” (Loewen 302). Yet the purpose of history is not to “inspire patriotism,” but to understand and learn from past mistakes. Censoring history for the sake of patriotism brings to mind George Orwell’s dystopian fiction novel, 1984, in which the protagonist rewrites his country’s historical records for nationalistic aims. The creation of a national fiction by way of historical revisionism is a form of propaganda, since nations adopting such methods twist the truth to justify the inevitability and righteousness of their country’s supposed victories. It is not unlike the strategies practiced by totalitarian regimes and dictatorships (i.e. Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany). Certainly, SUNY New Paltz is not like any of those entities. And since students have graduated from government-funded public schools only to pay obscene amounts of money for their college education, they deserve the truth. Once students begin to distinguish the truth from fabrications in this proposed class, history will be more enjoyable because it will not merely be a repetition of the history classes most have already endured for 12 or more years.

American students have been told distortions of real events their entire lives, thus the war against ignorance will be a war hard won. If a lie is repeated enough, people start to take it as the truth, which is why there is always something to learn. There are always reasons to know why people did the things they did, because they are still relevant and illustrate why today is the way it is. The past is essential to the understanding of the present. William Faulkner once wrote, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” Consequently, from this class, a new group of historians would emerge, who can better educate others because they have been honestly informed here at SUNY New Paltz. I hope you will take my request into consideration. Thank you.

Works Cited

Lewis, Susan. Email interview. 15 Nov 2012.

Loewen, James W. Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong. 2nd ed. New York: Touchstone, 2007. Print.

“State University of New York at New Paltz: Fall 2012 Schedule of Classes.” State University of New York at New Paltz. n.p., n.d. Web. 10 Nov 2012.

“State University of New York at New Paltz: Spring 2013 Schedule of Classes.” State University of New York at New Paltz. n.p., n.d. Web. 10 Nov 2012.

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2. Chevonne McInnis / Online Pornography Impacts a Generation

Have you ever logged onto Facebook and noticed a friend’s picture posted on your news feed and thought “Why would this person expose him or herself like this?” Many people under the age of 18 are putting inappropriate images online and I believe that the cause of this is early exposure to online pornography. There are countless stories of teens posting horrible videos of themselves and others on social networks, yet none of these stories try to explain why they are doing it. According to a study of teenagers at the high school level in Switzerland, “students were influenced by watching pornographic films, fantasizing about or having performed acts inspired by pornography” (Haggstrom-Nordin 277). My hypothesis is that online pornography has tremendous influence over teenagers almost the same way that viral YouTube videos do. A perfect example is the Harlem shake trend. People seem to imitate these trends because they are so easy and look like fun. This may be the same reason why teens do the same thing with vulgar images.

Before pornography was online, one would have to either order a magazine or buy a video from a store. Today, a person can simply stumble upon one of these sites just by having spelling errors in a Google search. According to an article from The Journal of Marital and Family Therapy entitled “Cybersex and the E-Teen: What Marriage and Family Therapists Should Know,” 43% of children between the ages of 7 and 18 have accidentally encountered online pornography. Other studies based on information from different antivirus software shows that the largest group of Internet porn consumption are minors between the ages of 12 and 17. Young teens are not only getting pornography from online sources. They are also seeking pornography through magazines, TV shows, and movies where risky sexual activity is often romanticized.

When teens expose themselves on the internet, it is problematic for many different reasons. Almost as soon as a teen is exposed on a social networking site, his or her reputation has a very high chance of being permanently damaged. If a teen puts explicit photos on the Internet, and then tries to apply for a job, it is possible for the employer to find the images and decide whether the person should get the position. Once a picture is posted onto the Internet, there is no guarantee that it can be completely deleted. For example, if I were to post a picture onto Facebook, I would be able to delete it if I wished to. The picture would seem to have disappeared, but if a “friend” happened to screen-shot the image (where a person is able to take a picture of their digital screen internally), and repost it onto their profile, there would be nothing I could do to remove it. This happens very often. When a derogatory image is posted on a social networking site or revealed on a chat, it offends many of its viewers. When I found myself on the chat site, Omegle (which I will further explain later), I often came across young teens exposing themselves in inappropriate ways. This put me in an uncomfortable situation because I looked like a sexual predator when in actuality I was the victim of their sexual offense.

The biggest issue here is that minors across the United States are posting child pornography to the Internet. According to the European Union, “child pornography involves a boy or girl under 18 shown in sexual activity, or showing their genitals or pubic area” (World). Information from Family Safe Media has revealed that as of 2008 there were over 100,000 illegal websites offering child pornography (Porn. Statistics). There are many parent organizations and companies working to eliminate child pornography and its abusers, but that’s difficult to do when a percentage of children are putting images out there for others to abuse. A large amount of people only look at the sexual offenders when addressing this problem, but I would like to investigate why a person at such a fragile age would consider putting their bodies on the Internet.

One of the reasons why pornography is such a difficult topic to guard children from is because it is able to have a great deal of impact in less than a minute. When children stumble upon pornography, it becomes a new subject for exploration with curiosity being the wind in their sails. It is not like letting a curse word slip out where a child may not notice. With pornographic images, a child is instantly exposed to rhetoric, which glamourizes sexual acts. No one mocks the people on these sites or says anything derogatory. Instead, they are praised for their differences and unique sexual abilities. These are positive things when viewed by the intended audience (those who are 18 and older), but this is dangerous for the young mind. Studies show that “the World Wide Web is often the first place teens are at risk for experimenting with online sexual behavior, or becoming victims of sexual harassment or offense” (Delmonico 432). Technology today makes online video trends and online pornography highly replicable. All one would need is a camera and Internet access to be viewed by eyes around the world. This is what leads a large number of young teens to expose themselves on the Internet.

When young teens begin to go through puberty, they often feel very insecure. When people are insecure they tend to want attention in order to seek approval from others. This sometimes causes teens expose themselves on the Internet. Teens aren’t always posting permanent images of themselves on social networks such as Facebook and Tumblr. They are also going on sites such as Chat Roulette and Omegle. When one arrives at Omegle.com, there are a few options for the viewer. The biggest buttons on the page ask to choose between a video chat and a textual chat. There is an orange box on the bottom that explains that children under 18 are about to chat under surveillance, where nudity is banned, if they choose the “video” button. In the same orange box there is also a link to “a free adult site if you’re after that” (Omegle). Directly under the “video” button, however, is the option to chat without any restriction. Without even beginning the chat, a child would easily be able to access professional and amateur pornography. These websites take pride in the fact that one can talk to a complete stranger without needing to enter any personal information.

Many people believe that these sites are safer than others are because no one can really hack into an account and steal a person’s identity, but these sites are can be dangerous with the presence of sexual predators. In fact, 89% of sexual solicitation of youth takes place on chat sites (Internet . . . Statistics). It is common to see nudity and racy language on these chat sites that is inappropriate for thirteen-year-old children. On Internet chatting sites, teens often feel comfortable doing inappropriate things for people who appear on their computer screens. Many of my friends and I have all been asked by young teens to “rate” their bodies or levels of attractiveness. These teens are usually still physically developing or have new developments which make them uncomfortable in their own skin. Why not turn to a stranger who will have no effect on your immediate social life? My friends and I have tried to ask these teens why they are behaving in such a way, but only got answers about their own self-consciousness. Even on online chat sites, it is simple for the stranger on the screen to record everything that happens and use it for illegal purposes.

Teens know that they and their peers are insecure about their bodies. Some teens use this as a tool for revenge by posting private pictures and videos of schoolmates on social networks for all of their friends to see. Temitayo Fagbenle, a sixteen-year-old female in high school, has witnessed her classmates doing this sort of thing. “I see girls get exposed like this on my Facebook newsfeed almost every day,” she explains. Fagbenle recalls different accounts of her classmates being “shamed” on the Internet. The students also have very little sympathy for the victims in situations like this. Many believe that “they do it do themselves” (Fagbenle). When the victim is properly humiliated, the offender is often commended by friends for such an act.

Online pornography is detrimental to children because it is putting them at higher risks of problematic behaviors. Two psychologists, Dr. Michele Ybarra and Dr. Kimberly Mitchell, did a study in 2005 on a group of children between the ages of 10 and 17 to find information about their consumption of pornography and its effects.  Their results show that “those who report intentional exposure, both online as well as off-line, to pornography are significantly more likely to cross-sectionally report delinquent behavior and substance abuse” (Ybarra 483). Ybarra and Mitchell state that a majority of the children who frequently consumed pornography reported that they do not have very good relationships with their caregivers, which leads them to do things such as watch adult videos and participate in delinquent acts.

Pornography consumption is also able to influence a teen’s sexual behaviors and treatment of women. Teens who frequently consume pornography are four times higher levels of sexual aggression than those who are not as exposed to pornography (Ybarra 483). According to Prevent Together, an online organization that works to help parents protect their children from pornography, there is a strong relationship between pornography consumption and attitudes supporting violence against women (Facts for Prevention 1). A large portion of pornography features women being abused. A large number of teenaged girls feel as though even non-violent pornography applies pressures from boys to act the way that is portrayed in such videos (Haggstrom-Nordin 277).

It is evident that online pornography is negatively affecting minors between the ages of 10 and 17. Now, what to do about it? I believe that there are a few possibilities to solving the issue of children’s exposure to pornography. My first proposal requires parents to take action. There a variety of things that parents can do in order to keep their kids away from online pornography. If a parent is going to allow their child to use the internet, the computer should be located in a common area where the screen can be seen from a distance, not in the child’s room. Most children are uncomfortable with discussing their inappropriate behaviors with their parents. This can work to a parent’s advantage because if a child questions a parent’s reasons for not allowing a personal computer in their room, the parent can simply ask what they would be doing that they cannot do in, say, they living room (Clay). This can be done with younger children under the age of 14, but teenagers may prove to be a bit more resistant, especially if they already have their own laptops. There are many antivirus systems that pride themselves on the ability to block pornographic websites.

Immediate action is not always necessary for all parents. According to the study by Drs. Ybarra and Mitchell, a majority of the children that intentionally search for pornography report that they do not have positive relationships with their caregivers. I found this information interesting and asked many of my friends from different areas of New York about their relationships with their caregivers and how much pornography they watched. Their answers all coincided with the doctor’s findings almost perfectly. So what does this mean? It is important for parents to try to have a positive relationship with their children. Simply eating dinner together every night can help decrease the dangers of pornography consumption.

My next proposal would require governmental action. Children often encounter pornography for the first time when searching for other things. A possible solution would be to create a separate search engine for adult websites and ban these sites from all other search engines such as Google and Bing. When originally considering this idea I first wondered to myself “how would the government be able to find every last adult site out there?” After researching the possibilities, I found that the simplest way to do this would be for all adult sites to change their domains to “.xxx”. If this were to take place, it would be much easier for people to tell which websites belong in the adult-content search engine.

One of the biggest issues with this is that people are allowed to name a website whatever they please. Many companies such as MTV have already bought reservations on the “.xxx” domain in order to protect their name. This way Average Joe cannot create a website called “MTV.xxx” which has nothing to do with the company. According to an article entitled Businesses in U.S. Complain of .xxx Shakedown, “Porn and mainstream businesses alike complain they are being forced to buy domain names they don’t want, don’t need and won’t use” (Baynes). The price for a business to buy a domain name is between $200 and $300. Only some organizations such as The Red Cross would not have to pay this price, but the fees would apply to all others. This issue complicates my proposal to restrict all adult sites to their own search engine.

As I conclude this paper, I am left with mixed feelings. I was able to dig into a topic that has been bothersome for years, but I found that this was a greater problem than I had originally expected. I now know that online pornography affects adolescents in a number of ways. It has the ability to influence their sexual behaviors, views of women, and decision-making skills. Keeping pornography away from children is very difficult when many of them are so Internet savvy and need protection from their own actions. Though it may be challenging, it is not impossible. There are steps that parents can take in order to make the Internet as safe as possible. I believe that more research will open more doors leading to a more child-friendly Internet. If parents take the time to monitor their children’s Internet usage, they do not need to be worried. They must simply be aware.

Works Cited

Baynes, Terry. “Porn Should Not Be Restricted to Its Own Internet Domain.” Online Pornography. Ed. David E. Nelson. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2012.

Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from “Businesses in U.S. Complain of .xxx Shakedown. “http://www.ibtimes.com. 2011. Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 3 May 2013.

Clay, Xanthe. “Is Your Child Secretly Watching Porn on the Internet?” The Telegraph. N.p., 27 Apr. 2013. Web. 30 Apr. 2013.

Delmonico, David L., and Elizabeth J. Griffin. “Cybersex and the E-teen: What Marriage and Family Therapists Should Know.” Journal of Marital and Family Therapy 34.4 (2008): 431-44. Print.

“FACTS FOR PREVENTION: The Impact of Pornography on Children & Youth.” Prevent Together. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Apr. 2013.

Fagbenle, Temitayo. “Online ‘Shaming’ A New Level Of Cyberbullying For Girls.” NPR. NPR, 07 Jan. 2013. Web. 23 Apr. 2013.

Haggstrom-Nordin, Elisabet, Tanja Tyden, Ulf Hanson, and Margareta Larsson. “Experiences of and Attitudes towards Pornography among a Group of Swedish High School Students.” The European Journal of Contraception & Reproductive Health Care14.4 (2009): 277-84. Print.

“Internet Pornography Statistics.” Addiction. Ed. Louise I. Gerdes. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2010. Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 21 Mar. 2013.

Omegle. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 May 2013.

“Pornography Statistics.” Family Safe Media. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2013.

“World Briefing Europe: European Union Defines Child Pornography.” New York Times 15 Oct. 2002: A6. Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 5 May 2013.

Ybarra, Michele L., and Kimberly J. Mitchell. “Exposure to Internet Pornography among Children and Adolescents: A National Survey.” CyberPsychology Behavior 8.5 (2005): 473-86. Print.

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3. Zoe Papetti / Stumble Upon and the Exploration of the Digital Age

Look at a map of the world. All of the oceans and continents are drawn out, along with all of their cities, streets and landmarks. All of these places are known and have been explored previously. Now think about the Internet; has there ever been a complete map showing every corner of the Internet drawn out? Does anyone even know if there are “corners” to the Internet; meaning, does it have an end? In addition, think about what specifically lies within the endless folds of this virtual continuum. The information ranges from pictures of people and places to chemistry homework help centers with funny cat videos and everything else imaginable sprinkled in between. The World Wide Web is undergoing constant growth and change to fit with the ever-changing times of our era, thus, it will never be able to be completely mapped like our Earth. For most, this is a tantalizing concept: Having no foreseeable limit to what one can accomplish on the Internet. Why travel a world that people have already walked when the option of the unknown lies at your fingertips?

To illustrate the limitlessness of the Internet, an author for The New Yorker writes, “That the reality of machines can outpace the imagination of magic, and in so short a time, does tend to lend weight to the claim that the technological shifts in communication we’re living with are unprecedented” (Gopnik 1). Here there is a parallel drawn between the Internet and one’s imagination. It suggests that all of the information located on the Internet could never be shown a stopping point just as a person’s thoughts could never be limited. For now, one’s mind will remain a mystery to everyone but himself, but there may be an attempt to find some of that unknown information on the web: Stumble Upon. This website has 2.2 million new web pages added to its database every month and allows its users to access the ones that are in association with their specific interests. The most compelling feature is that Stumble Upon leads it users to websites that they have never encountered previously just by pushing a little orange button labeled “stumble.” The web pages that are “stumbled upon” are usually new to the user and a product of the unknown causing them to be seen as something exciting. One could discover places and people she had never known of before if s/he went out and traveled the world, but with the success of Stumble Upon, s/he now has the capability to do the same from the comfort of his or her own home. The only things one needs in order to discover are their fingers, their eyes, and Internet access. It does not get much easier than that.

This ease is what brings a person to limit their discovery to the service provided by Stumble Upon, as opposed to physically exploring the world. A journal article from Business Wire states:

Stumble Upon discovers web sites based on your interests, learns what you like, and brings you more. With more than 6 million users and approximately 12 million stumbles daily, Stumble Upon is the leading way to discover great content on the Internet. (“Stumble Upon”)

While the user stares at his computer screen, Stumble Upon’s service does everything that needs to be done in order for him to discover. And all by the prompt of one single mouse click. The months of planning a trip out of town, where one would normally have to save money, gather supplies, and the like, are an action of the past. Now he must only press a button and discovery has begun. The optimal foraging theory of science states that animals will choose the path towards accomplishing a task that expends the least amount of energy. The act of “Stumbling” could be considered an optimal way to explore due to the fact that hardly any energy is expended as one presses an orange button and is automatically brought places he has never been before. But in the sense of the word “optimal” meaning the most favorable or desirable point, this theory proves false in this situation. Stumble Upon may bring its users places they have never been previously, but it does not provide nearly the same experience one has when attending a destination.

It is important that the younger generations begin to realize that discovery on the Internet is not the same as discovery in the real world.

Instead of giving us a new and better way of seeing the world, the Internet is a tool that embodies how we have wanted to see the world for some time. We have built it according to our new ideas about the world, and it gained a power that is destroying pre-existing structures. (Hardy 1)

The things that we all encounter on the Internet are presented in a way that people prefer to see them, not to mention that the Internet is easy to use, cost-effective, and entertaining at times. It is a shame that the glorified version of the world presented on the Internet is replacing the real world outside of our houses and destroying the means (or pre-existing structures) by which people used to explore. It is almost as if Quentin Hardy is referring directly to Stumble Upon when he forms this idea if one takes into account that the service requires its users to create a “personality profile” by selecting a number of interests. Stumble Upon then puts this information to use and customizes each stumble to avoid material that may not fit the user’s fancy but will fall under the categories selected. Is one really exploring if he is only seeing the things that he wants to see? Is not part of the art of discovery the feeling of serendipity: finding something that you were not originally looking for nor that you knew you wanted to find? When a user gives Stumble Upon his interests, he is telling the system that he does not want to try anything new because he knows that his stumbles will fall only under what he has said he enjoys. A New York Times articles reads:

But [finding things on the Internet] isn’t serendipity. It’s really group-think. Everything we need to know comes filtered and vetted. We are discovering what everyone else is learning, and usually from people we have selected because they share our tastes. It won’t deliver that magic moment of discovery. (Darlin 1).

It also mentions, “Stumble Upon is a web service that steers users toward content that they are likely to find interesting. […] It’s a good try, but it is still telling readers what they want to know” (1) which further supports both the author’s claim and my own claim that exploring on the Internet will not bring a person true discovery, when defined with serendipity.

Aside from Stumble Upon eliminating the possibility of chance discoveries, the Internet as a whole has taken away the viewers’ ability to decide for himself what it is that he has found. It simply cannot be accomplished with the World Wide Web nowadays because everything is second hand. Information on the Web exists because somebody else put it there. Therefore, that somebody has already done the interpretation of what exactly a viewer has encountered for him or herself. For example, articles on the Web are not a stumbler’s own thoughts; they are someone else’s that the stumbler has just happened to read. Sometimes a person allows himself to believe that the content he has found on the Internet is his own if he is the first of his peers to encounter it, forgetting that he is just reiterating a secondary person’s knowledge and experience. In support and mentioned before, Darlin writes, “We are discovering what everyone else is learning” (1). Articles are one example, but pictures on the Internet are a better illustration of how Internet content is the product of another’s perception. An excerpt from the novel, White Noise, reads,

“No one sees the barn,” he said finally. A long silence followed. “Once you’ve seen the signs about the barn, it becomes impossible to see the barn.”[…] There was an extended silence. The man in the booth sold post cards and slides. […] “We see only what the others see. The thousands who were here in the past, those who will come in the future. We’ve agreed to be part of a collective perception. This literally colors our vision.” (Delillo 12)

Although this novel is a work of fiction, Delillo successfully encompasses the real life fact that seeing through another’s eyes is not actually seeing. One may Stumble Upon a photograph of African tribes on the Internet and it may lead him to believe that he would like to visit Africa one day, but the photograph is from another person’s point of view. He may want to visit the Africa he sees through the screen, but the actual Africa may be very different through his own eyes. Encountering information through the Internet takes away the experience of interpreting for oneself what he has seen because someone else interpreted it and put it there before the discovery one makes of it. This applies to every website that Stumble Upon brings it users to as well. If we want to define discovery only by its textual representation in the World English Dictionary of “learning about or encountering something for the first time,” then yes, we are ‘discovering’ on the Internet. But if the Internet is not our own, as it has been illustrated, how could the ‘discoveries’ that we are making through it possibly be called our own either?

Perhaps if one physically explored and decided for himself what it was that he had discovered, he would retain the knowledge gathered since it was his in the first place. Nicholas Carr illustrates the problem of discovering on the Internet by stating the cognitive affects Internet exploration has on its users.

When we go online, we enter an environment that promotes cursory reading, hurried and distracted thinking, and superficial learning. Even as the Internet grants us easy access to vast amounts of information, it is turning us into shallower thinkers. (1)

Numerous studies have yielded results that show the effects of Web use to be those which are listed above and those results show that exploration on the Internet through Stumble Upon affects our brains negatively. Lasting impressions are a product of in-depth thought and analysis, which is experienced when attending a destination or reading a text outside of a screen. On the contrary, the exploration that is now taking place on the Internet is promoting and causing “hurried and distracted thinking” as Carr mentions. When a user has as many distractions available to him as are presented by the Internet, his brain brings his thoughts to a shallower place, resulting in less retention of what he experienced (Carr 1). The ability to think years later about how one felt the moment they discovered something new is slowly becoming a luxury that few people will partake in as the use of Stumble Upon and the Internet grows. The ability to think analytically at all is also at risk for becoming obsolete as people continue to use the Internet for exploration purposes.

If not used as a means of exploring but rather as a way to find entertainment, Stumble Upon proves to be of no risk to one’s capabilities and opportunities. A person can restrict his stumbles to purely online games or puzzles and he would have to go through at least one thousand of each before he found himself with nothing left to do. This is how Stumble Upon should be used: as a way to find entertainment when the real world fails to provide. In the realm of exploration, Stumble Upon should be a stepping-stone to actual discovery. One should see a photograph of a waterfall on Stumble Upon and decide that they are one day going to visit someplace that has a waterfall. They should not be satisfied with that photograph nor should they be falsely led to believe that what is pictured is the extent to what there is to that waterfall. It is time to learn that the Internet is a great escape but the world is an even better one.

Exploration has shifted digital with the rise of the Internet and websites such as Stumble Upon. We show less drive to physically explore the land and experience for ourselves the wonders of the world. It is important that we realize that we are doing such things and try to combat it while we still have the opportunity. When we choose virtual exploration over physical, we choose the path that lacks excitement, lasting memories and imagination. Without those things, our world will lack the joy that results from excitement, the nostalgia that comes from remembering how we felt at a point in our lives and the creativity that gives us some of the most impressive works of humankind. A world without these things is a world not worth exploring, so as we continue to limit our discovery to the Internet we also continue to cause the decline and eventual elimination of exploration altogether.

Works Cited

Gopnik, Adam. “The Information: How the Internet Gets Inside Us.” The New Yorker 14 Feb. 2011: 1-5. Web. 5 May 2013.

Hardy, Quentin. “How the Internet is Ruining Everything.” The New York Times. 3 Dec. 2011: Web. 5 May 2013.

Delillo, Don. White Noise. New York: Penguin Books, 1999. Print.

“Stumble Upon Announces ‘Discovery Beyond the Toolbar’”. Business Wire. 1 Oct.2008: Web. 3 May 2013.

Darlin, Damon. “Serendipity, Lost in the Digital Deluge.” The New York Times. 1 Aug. 2009: Web. 5 May 2013.

Carr, Nicholas. “The Web Shatters Focus: Rewires Brains.” Wired. Disqus, 24 May 2010. Web. 5 May 2013.

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