Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Does Facebook Destroy Your Brain?

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg

I have a Facebook page, I even have "friends" (even Fat Doctor!!), but I haven't really figured out what to do with it, so it doesn't eat my time. Something to check here and there. Roy has a Facebook page, but alas, few friends, and he's too busy twittering for it to really matter. ClinkShrink stays out of the fray, but I do write on her sister's wall here and there.

With the kids, it's another story. It consumes their worlds. Even my patients talk in terms of Facebook. Who's befriended you, who's UNfriended you, who's in a relationship with who, it's all there. I stuck my head in a video my own kid was making, only to run into some teens in the grocery store the next day and have them say, "I saw you on Facebook!"

So is this a good thing? (How could it be?).

From today's Mail Online, David Derbyshire writes "Social Websites Harm Children's Brains." I've clipped some parts of the article below:

Baroness Greenfield, an Oxford University neuroscientist and director of the Royal Institution, believes repeated exposure could effectively 'rewire' the brain.

Experts are concerned children's online social interactions can 'rewire' the brain....

'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.'....

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....

Educational psychologist Jane Healy believes children should be kept away from computer games until they are seven. Most games only trigger the 'flight or fight' region of the brain, rather than the vital areas responsible for reasoning.

Usually we think of computer games as being harmful in terms of exposure to violence, or in that they suck time away from important parts of life: contact with other people, exposure to new and interesting things. We don't usually think of these things in terms of the brain Hardwiring.