24 February 2009

Brain Infantilization or Biased Neuroscience?

David Derbyshire of the UK's Daily Mail has written an article on the topic of possible harm caused to childrens' brains by social websites. Following are some highlighted quotes from the mentioned article.

Baroness Greenfield, Oxford University neuroscientist says of social media:

My fear is that these technologies are infantilising the brain into the state of small children who are attracted by buzzing noises and bright lights, who have a small attention span and who live for the moment.

The Baroness furthers:

I often wonder whether real conversation in real time may eventually give way to these sanitised and easier screen dialogues, in much the same way as killing, skinning and butchering an animal to eat has been replaced by the convenience of packages of meat on the supermarket shelf...

David Derbyshire of the UK's Daily Mail makes the larger point that:

Psychologists have also argued that digital technology is changing the way we think. They point out that students no longer need to plan essays before starting to write - thanks to word processors they can edit as they go along. Satellite navigation systems have negated the need to decipher maps.

A closing thought from Sue Palmer, author of Toxic Childhood:

'I'm not against technology and computers. But before they start social networking, they need to learn to make real relationships with people.' 

As with anything, I personally think it is a matter of restraint. We should and will use social media technologies to our human advantage, even in the pursuit of developing and maintaining healthy human relationships. Using or depending on a "plugged-in" solution for all things though surely would be an excessive behavior resulting in an affected person, to whatever degree.

What do YOU think?


Derbyshire, D. (2009, February) Social websites harm children's brains: Chilling warning to parents from top neuroscientist. The Daily Mail: Mail Online. Retrieved 24 February 2009 from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1153583/Social-websites-harm-childrens-brains-Chilling-warning-parents-neuroscientist.html


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