Is it possible, as some research is showing, that heavy use of social media by adolescents is causing ‘mind change’ through the shrinking of brain tissue, as Oxford University neuroscientist Baroness Susan Greenfield claims?
The Baroness says:
”I am a neuroscientist and I know the brain is shaped by the environment. If the environment is changing in an unprecedented way it is a given the brain will change in an unprecedented way.
Things like touching someone, eye contact, voice tone are hugely important … in establishing empathy with someone, understanding with someone.
None of those things are available on Facebook..
So if you are spending six hours a day or more and your primary social vehicle is though a screen, well all you have is vision and hearing and you don’t learn how to hug someone, or when to look them in the eye.”
This high-profile British brain expert believes that the loss of eye contact and physical closeness due to constant communication through a computer screen could be having an equivalent impact on humanity to climate change.
Apparently many parents and teachers of teenagers are complaining that young people lack the ability to communicate or concentrate away from their screens.
They say sites such as Facebook and Twitter shorten attention spans, encourage instant gratification and make young people more self-centered.
A growing number of psychologists and neuroscientists believe social media may be doing more harm than good.
Baroness Greenfield, believes repeated exposure could effectively ‘rewire’ the brain. She says:
‘The technologies are invasive and pervasive as never before…and certainly in a way that the printing press, or the electric light, or the television were not.‘
She believes we need:
“a major overhaul of education to prevent a generation of children becoming emotionally stunted, inarticulate adult hedonists with tiny attention spans, who can’t differentiate between blasting away aliens on screen and happy-slapping grannies.”
What are your observations?