Social networking has a big role in our lives nowadays. Sometimes, we spend so much time surfing the net, chating, playing games, and many more.
According to Professor Susan Greenfiled: ‘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.
‘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sanitised and easier screen dialogues, in much the same way as killing, skinning and butchering an animal to eat has been replaced by the convenience of packages of meat on the supermarket shelf,’ she said.
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.
But they will strike a chord with parents and teachers who complain that many youngsters lack the ability to communicate or concentrate away from their screens.
More than 150million use Facebook to keep in touch with friends, share photographs and videos and post regular updates of their movements and thoughts.
A further six million have signed up to Twitter, the ‘micro-blogging’ service that lets users circulate text messages about themselves.
But while the sites are popular – and extremely profitable – a growing number of psychologists and neuroscientists believe they may be doing more harm than good.
Baroness Greenfield, an Oxford University neuroscientist and director of the Royal Institution, believes repeated exposure could effectively ‘rewire’ the brain.