Some words of caution on web surfing, from Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains:

“When you’re constantly taking in new bits of information – as we do when we browse the Web, check e-mail or read text messages – we take things in very quickly, and because our working memory has such a small capacity, it has to sort of shepherd information into and out of the brain very quickly to make room for more incoming stuff. If your working memory is constantly overloaded and you never pay focused attention to one thing, you aren’t consolidating information into your long-term memory, and as a result, you’re not building all the mental connections between information and experiences and emotions that are essential to developing a rich intellect. Research shows that these connections are essential to conceptual thinking, critical thinking and certain types of creative thinking.”

“…if people value calmer, more contemplative thought, they need to change the way they use the technology. The goal should be to clear considerable portions of your day for working, conversing, thinking and playing without the mediation (or the interruption) of screen technologies… You’ll realize that we often reach for a computer or a smartphone out of laziness, boredom or habit, and that resisting that temptation can be healthy, particularly for the depth of our intellectual and social lives.”

The full interview with the author in Rotman Magazine is available here.