Unit 1: Getting Started on the Internet

Thanks for checking out my whole course overview for the Psychological Effects of the Internet! In Professor Gernsbacher’s first lecture, she discusses why she chose to transition all of her classes to an online format. In the beginning, I was skeptical of taking a class completely online, but after watching Professor Gernsbacher’s lecture I can honestly say that I am convinced on online education can be just as effective as an in-person education.

In her lecture, Professor Gernsbacher discusses how people today fear the internet, but that the fear of new technology is not a new phenomenon. In the 1700’s scholars predicted that “the increase of novels will help to account for the increase of prostitution and for the numerous adulteries and elopements that we hear about.” In the 1800’s chess was said to be “a mere amusement of a very inferior character, which robs the mind of valuable time that might be devoted to nobler acquirements, while at the same time it affords no benefit whatever to the body.” Even ballpoint pens were feared, with the belief that “if the technology makes error correction easy, students will make more errors.”

Other technologies that were originally feared includes novels, newspapers, bicycles, the radio, recorded music, and pocket calculators. The fears back then rival the fears that we have today of the internet, smartphones, video games, and social media. It seems as though no new technology is immune to society’s fear. Professor Gernsbacher asserts though, that there is nothing to be afraid of with this new technology. Someday we will look back on today’s technology and think how crazy it was for us to ever have feared it.


 Do you have technophobia?

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