“Internet Brain” - Problematic review

Chad White

Problematic
“Internet Brain”
Season 1, Episode 2

Stacking up likes like a fucking grown-up.

Humans spend way too much time on the internet. Before, it was television; But, since you can get TV over the internet now, there’s a new threat afoot. The web is everywhere from phones to game consoles and they’re even invading our TV sets. There’s no escaping it. With this dependence on screens comes a generation of children less ready to take in outside knowledge. Yes, the internet is a major tool for learning but it doubles as a distraction device. This week’s episode of Problematic aims to not solve but talk about these issues (mostly because there is no concrete way to solve it).

Joined by comedians Nick Kroll and Baratunde Thurston and author Nicholas Carr, Moshe Kasher helps dissect what causes “internet brain” and what life used to be before it. The group talks about its hindrances or the way they can’t seem to put their own phones down. Twitter seems to be one of the main culprits. In a pre-recorded piece where Kasher talks to local teens they name Snapchat as their drug choice. And these are drugs, Thurston points out. The internet is an addictive way to get instant satisfaction. Carr and an audience member who works as a psychologist both acknowledge the fact. The psychologist cites porn as one of the instant gratifiers that are most common.

This talk with the teens, though, is enlightening. Not only does it open up the eyes of the viewer for what it’s like to be a young person in today’s internet based age but it also points to how soon they were indoctrinated. These kids – ranging in ages from 14 to 16 – don’t use Facebook (saying that “it’s for old people”) nor do they know what life was like pre-internet. That’s insane. They’re only ten years younger than me and the youngest demographic for the show. Further, they use Snapchat – not regular texting – to communicate with their friends. They’re obsessed with “streaks” (days in a row that Snapchat was used), unable to see that it’s the app tempting their dopamine receptors with the ever so good but unhealthy false appreciation.  And Snapchat isn’t the only app doing it.

But no one cares. We can raise as big of a stink as we like. We can put our phones away for the Sabbath but still be drawn to them. We’ll always want that feeling that comes with getting those sweet, sweet likes and retweets. But Kasher isn’t so quick to say that the internet is completely bad. He uses it as an effective way to stay in touch with his deaf parents. A narrated conversation between the two gives the viewer a decent view of how her life was pre-and post-internet. It works well to convey how the web is an important tool as much as it is destructive.

Should you watch “Internet Brain?”

If you’re concerned about your well-being because of your addiction to what the internet has to offer, this episode will give you what you’re looking for. I only wish episodes were offered in their full, unedited nature online. Those cuts in conversation are distracting. And the low angle, guerilla-style shots are unnecessary.