Reports published today (24th Feburary 2009) suggest that the Internet, in particular social networking sites like Facebook, can damage the brains of children. The reports first arose in the Daily Mail.
However, according to Internet Psychologist Graham Jones, these reports are based on assumption rather than any evidence.
He said: “Once again we have apparently eminent scientists basing their ideas about the Internet on assumptions rather than fact. There is no evidence to support the claims made today by Baroness Greenfield. She was expressing only her fear that it may be a possibility that brains could be harmed.”
Mr Jones added that the leap between theoretical possibility and actually causing harm was a massive one. “There are plenty of other possible explanations for changes in children’s brains that are not related to their use of online technology,” said Mr Jones.
“For a start, their brains are altered by education, home life, the social environment and a host of other factors. To isolate the Internet as the reason for any changes is to ignore the other potential causes. And that is bad science,” he added.
In an article critising the claims, Mr Jones also said that there is evidence that the Internet actually improves the brains of children.
“Far from causing damage, the use of modern technology appears to improve several parts of our brains, including our ability to concentrate on more things at the same time,” he said.