A leading neuroscientist in Britain has issued a serious warning regarding PC time and online activity. The caution is aimed at everyone who finds themselves spending time increasingly online, but may impact youngsters most of all.
Susan Greenfield, head of the Royal Institution, cautions that the brains of children may actually be changed by overly long interaction online and using social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook . Greenfield spoke to the House Of Lords and said that the increase of autism may be connected with our society’s ever growing use of online communication and the way that many of us now have “online screen” relationships over the real thing live in person with others human beings.
We may forget just how important a real physical meeting with another person is to the way in which we express ourselves to one another. Sending off daily emails, posting on MySpace or other social networking websites may satisfy our need to communicate with one another, but it’s simply not the same thing as when people actually speak to each other in person. Greenfield reminds us of the many real time variables which goes into effective human to human interaction, “… require a sensitivity to voice tone, body language and perhaps even to pheromones – those sneaky molecules that we release and which others smell subconsciously. Moreover, according to the context and, indeed, the person with whom we are conversing, our own delivery will need to adapt. None of these skills are required when chatting on a social networking site…”
Is this just about creating a world of more socially limited people? Alarmingly, there may even be real damaging physical health risks. Too much time online simply pounding a keyboard to reach people outside in the world gets even more disturbing, when you consider a report published in the journal Biologist. The report’s author Aric Sigman has theorized that a lack of person to person contact can impact genes, immune responses, even the way in which arteries work. This could lead to things like heart problems, strokes or even later on in life dementia.
We all know the Internet age has revolutionized the world, and as they say, once the genie’s out of the bottle, it’s hard if not impossible to put it back in. However these serious warnings from health professionals remind us that too much of anything can be a bad thing.