I recently used the word "crutch" to describe a reliance of online resources as a substitute for actual knowledge. The exact sentence I used was "How do you ensure that the Internet is a helpful learning tool, rather than a crutch?".
My intent was to discuss how to avoid what I perceived as possible long-term repercussions to children learning to Google for quick answers rather than learn the subject matter to a depth that makes such searching unnecessary.
However, I was surprised to get a response that indicated that "crutch" meant a "short-term" solution. In support of this position was a dictionary.com reference to this definition of the word: "anything that serves as a temporary and often inappropriate support, supplement, or substitute; prop: He uses liquor as a psychological crutch."
I have never considered the word crutch used in that context to be temporally limited. Rather, I have always assumed that "a shortcut or tool relied upon to overcome shortcomings" was a valid meaning. Is my interpretation correct, or does the phrase "relying on [x] as a crutch" always imply a short-term situation?