If you take a look at this article in the Daily Mail it will raise some questions which ought to be considered, especially by those of us currently working in education:
Social networking websites are causing alarming changes in the brains of young users, an eminent scientist has warned.
Sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Bebo are said to shorten attention spans, encourage instant gratification and make young people more self-centred.
The claims from neuroscientist Susan Greenfield will make disturbing reading for the millions whose social lives depend on logging on to their favourite websites each day.
She’s not the only one, by the way. A growing number of psychologists and educators are questioning what these web communication methods are doing to concentration, attention and the ability to understand and absorb conceptual thought.
This quote from Greenfield is revealing:
‘We know how small babies need constant reassurance that they exist,’ she told the Mail yesterday.
‘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 fact that one research group has found children spending seven and one half hours a day on line as an average is particularly disturbing. This is time which used to be spent playing with other children outdoors, in physical gameas and activities.
Sue Palmer, author of Toxic Childhood, said: ‘We are seeing children’s brain development damaged because they don’t engage in the activity they have engaged in for millennia.
‘I’m not against technology and computers. But before they start social networking, they need to learn to make real relationships with people.’
And we are seeing this right up to college level now, where students jump into Facebook in the middle of classes, an inability to focus on subjects necessary for passing courses.
Something to think about, isn’t it (says your blogger here, as you spend time on his and other on-line blogs. Perhaps we are part of the problem?)