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03 March 2009 @ 03:21 pm
Facebook Etc Bad for your health?  
Susan Greenfield, the eminent neuroscientist and head of the Royal Institution, has warned that young people's brains may be fundamentally altered by internet activity.

Dr Aric Sigman has warned that sites such as Facebook and Bebo could harm people's health. He joins Jeremy Paxman and Ben Goldacre, author of Bad Science and the Guardian column of the same name, to discuss Baroness Greenfield's claims.

BBC Newsnight Footage
 
 
 
iorichiorich on March 3rd, 2009 12:33 pm (UTC)
everything in moderation.
eullipia on March 3rd, 2009 05:07 pm (UTC)
That's a good philosophy.
I am a satellite, I'm out of controlmissfahrenheit on March 3rd, 2009 12:52 pm (UTC)
Ben Goldacre owned that conversation.
eullipia on March 3rd, 2009 05:12 pm (UTC)
Ben Goldacre owned it? In what sense?
Aarona_pawson on March 4th, 2009 05:48 am (UTC)
In the sense that he was the only one talking any sense. He is right, she is supposed to be a scientist, yet is espousing her own personal opinions as fact. Opinions which are based on absolutely no scientific evidence.
eullipia on March 5th, 2009 07:19 am (UTC)
Sigman was very VERY animated wasn't he? He has also written a book about the dangers of excessive television viewing - particularly for young 2- 5 years old children. He seemed to be suggesting that he was concerned about the same group but I cannot imagine a five year old having facebook. Still, what do I know.
ijournalerijournaler on March 3rd, 2009 02:54 pm (UTC)
Give us the old ways back!
Good stirring stuff. I suspect there's something in Greenfield's warning, and I liked Paxman's points that clocks, when first introduced, were critisised for making people lose touch with 'natural time' and the printing press blamed for making people intellectually lazy - maybe we're still suffering the consequences!
eullipia on March 3rd, 2009 05:11 pm (UTC)
Re: Give us the old ways back!
If books, which after all could be carried around and used time and time again, made us intellectually lazy - compared to the centuries of The Oral Tradition, to which we owe all of the greatest pieces of Western Literature, - then how much more lazy might the web make us, and how frustrated as no web page can be guaranteed to last? And how much less do we develop our memories?
slw2004: drollslw2004 on March 3rd, 2009 05:13 pm (UTC)
I'm sure I read something when that first came out a few weeks ago that said that it was based on outmoded research that, in places, was not rigourous and that the whole thing needed to be treated with a pinch of salt. Now if I could just remember where that was....

Every new thing carries with it a "but think of the children!" overreaction. If the child is only ever on the internet- if it doesn't go to school and interact with other people, or get taken to the park, or read to by its parents, or get social, one-on-one interaction then, yes, it is probably unhealthy. But it's not the internet that's making them unhealthy, it's the bad parenting. IMO.
Aarona_pawson on March 4th, 2009 05:49 am (UTC)
I don't know where you firwst read it, buyt Ben Goldacre has summed it up quite nicely in his blog.

http://www.badscience.net/2009/02/the-evidence-aric-sigman-ignored/#more-1001
eullipia on March 5th, 2009 07:24 am (UTC)
Interesting. Thanks for the link.
eullipia on March 5th, 2009 07:24 am (UTC)
Every new thing?
slw2004slw2004 on March 5th, 2009 07:31 am (UTC)
Perhaps that should be every new technology/medical treatment/societal development, and so forth. Name me one that didn't.
XIV_Geminaxiv_gemina on March 3rd, 2009 05:21 pm (UTC)
Constant activity in 'cyberspace', to the exclusion of all other activity is, IMO, very likely to 'wire' a growing brain in a way that makes it inccapable of optimal performance in 'meatspace'.
i.e. if you let your kids play on the computer/'net 24/7/365 then they will probably grow up lacking the neurological architecture necessary to enable them to function adequately in Real Life®.

Spending the majority of one's childhood flitting between whatever activity takes one's interest, changing to another activity every few minutes, and enjoying every single one of them can hardly be said to be the best preparation for the world of Work (which is, as any fule kno, a Four-Letter Word).

That said - and as others have already pointed out - the aswer to this latest 'revelation'/piece of Worrying Research is that hoary old saw Moderation In All Things.
eullipia on March 5th, 2009 07:23 am (UTC)
I am very close to agreeing with you here and it is the youngest age groups that Sigman seemed to be concerned about. He expresses the same concern concerning excessive television viewing in his book 'Remotely Controlled'. In that he expresses some strong and, I would think, valid concerns.