Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
February 24, 2009 9:52 PM

Stupid, Stupid, Stupid

Online social networks are making you stupid. They're also going to make the next generation of kids stupider too.

That was the news out of the UK today. The Mail Online had an article titled, Social websites harm children's brains: Chilling warning to parents from top neuroscientist, and here's what it said:

"Baroness Greenfield, an Oxford University neuroscientist and director of the Royal Institution, believes repeated exposure could effectively 'rewire' the brain. Computer games and fast-paced TV shows were also a factor, she said. '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.'"

Didn't they say the same thing about television, radio and every other media technology that has ever been invented? (they even said it about rock n' roll).

"'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sanitised and easier screen dialogues, in much the same way as killing, skinning and butchering an animal to eat has been replaced by the convenience of packages of meat on the supermarket shelf,' she said."

And then there's this:

"Psychologists have also argued that digital technology is changing the way we think. They point out that students no longer need to plan essays before starting to write - thanks to word processors they can edit as they go along. Satellite navigation systems have negated the need to decipher maps."

We are all meeting more people and connecting to those who have similar interests to ours in these online channels. We are being introduced to others and publishing our own content with a global platform and audience. We are not just sitting back and letting random television programming suck the time out of our lives. We're reading, engaging and creating in everything from video and audio to images and text. 

So, what do you think? Are Twitter and Facebook making us stupider?

By Mitch Joel