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View Full Version : Scientists claim Facebook, Twitter rot kids brains.


Unspeaked
Feb 26, 2009, 01:04 AM
LINK (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/02/25/earlyshow/health/main4827591.shtml)

Are Twitter, Facebook Health Hazards?

British Scientist Questions Effect Of Social Networking Web Sites On Brain Functions, Attention Span

(CBS) Newspaper headlines in Britain the past week have questioned whether Internet social networking sites might be health hazards -- one even claiming Facebook could raise your risk of cancer.

The British government quickly weighed in to dismiss that claim, but the argument is still on over how time online might affect young minds.

CBS News correspondent Richard Roth took a closer look at the social networking controversy from London.

With millions frequenting Internet social networking sites, including Twitter, bebo and Facebook, the controversy was launched when a British scientist wondered out loud whether all that time online could be changing how the brain functions, shortening attention span, even contributing to autism.

Though she raised it in a House of Lords debate, Professor Susan Greenfield says her question was more speculative than scientific.

"Perhaps given the brain is so impressionable, that screen life is mandating that more infantilized lifestyle. Now this is based on a little bit of neuroscience, observations, a bit of clinical evidence, there is no one single or conclusive killer fact," Greenfield said.

One fact any teen will admit is that the Internet is an irresistible attraction.

"I'm addicted to Facebook. I go on it every single night," said a teen in London.

But the science jury is still out on whether there is a long-term effect. The question that should be asked is what the risk may be in missing out what time online has replaced.

"No study has ever found that extensive use of Internet social networks permanently damages the brain. But we have to ask the question, 'What happens to young people when they spend hours and hours with the computer? Are they getting outdoors? Are they exercising? Are they learning to talk to each other face to face?'" said Gary Small, professor of Psychology at UCLA.

The sort of questions raised more than two generations ago, when we started to watch TV.

Mr. Giver '94
Feb 26, 2009, 01:18 AM
Scary!!! Thankfully the most I ever spend on Facebook is 15 mins in a day. :)

Facebook is the only social networking site I use thankfully.

Stampyhead
Feb 26, 2009, 03:32 AM
Ha ha, that's hilarious. These so-called "scientists" are coming up with complete rubbish just to create hype and get more research money.
News Flash! Everything causes cancer! Stop living, just curl up in a ball and exist in fear!

notjustjay
Feb 26, 2009, 08:10 AM
News Flash! Everything causes cancer! Stop living, just curl up in a ball and exist in fear!

Fear causes cancer too! :eek:

Abstract
Feb 26, 2009, 10:04 AM
The question that should be asked is what the risk may be in missing out what time online has replaced.


It replaced TV. I don't see how this is bad. :confused: I mostly read MacRumors and the news online. I check FaceBook and email, but that doesn't cost me my day or anything.

bartelby
Feb 26, 2009, 10:08 AM
Here's a good Bad Science article (http://www.badscience.net/2009/02/the-evidence-aric-sigman-ignored/)

Professor Susan Greenfield is the head of the Royal Institution and the person behind the Daily Mail headline “Social websites harm children’s brains: Chilling warning to parents from top neuroscientist”, which has spread around the world (like the last time she said it, and the time before that).
It is my view that Professor Greenfield has been abusing her position as a professor, and head of the Royal Institution, for many years now, using these roles to give weight to her speculations and prejudices in a way that is entirely inappropriate. Sometimes it’s cannabis.

GSMiller
Feb 26, 2009, 10:44 AM
They're just upset because no one wants to befriend them or read their tweets.

mkrishnan
Feb 26, 2009, 10:50 AM
I find the idea that Facebook causes autism particularly amusing....

Seriously, however, I will say that behavioral and chemical addictions do affect brain chemistry and function. I don't think anyone disagrees with this. And I think in the scientific community, it's pretty well agreed upon at this point that one can form an addiction-like behavioral pattern for things like a website. But it's a longshot to say these same kids wouldn't have been addicted to something else instead had Facebook not existed.

remmy
Feb 26, 2009, 10:54 AM
i think wat sceintis man says not troo I use facebook + i good

Mousse
Feb 26, 2009, 11:06 AM
It's a good thing that the majority of the folks on Facebook are middle age.:p So what's the effect of using Facebook on the older demographics? Will it cause us...oops:o er... them ;);):p cancer too?:confused:

Unspeaked
Feb 26, 2009, 11:32 AM
i think wat sceintis man says not troo I use facebook + i good

:D