Internet may alter brain functions
- The report combined the evidence to produce revised models on how the Internet could affect the brain's structure, function and cognitive development.
- The key findings of this report are that high-levels of Internet use could indeed impact on many functions of the brain, said Joseph Firth, Senior Research Fellow at Western Sydney University in Australia.
- For example, the limitless stream of prompts and notifications from the Internet encourages us towards constantly holding a divided attention- which then in turn may decrease our capacity for maintaining concentration on a single task, said Firth, who led the study.
- Additionally, the online world now presents us with a uniquely large and constantly-accessible resource for facts and information, which is never more than a few taps and swipes away.
- The World Health Organization's 2018 guidelines recommended that young children (aged 2-5) should be exposed to one hour per day, or less, of screen time.
- However, the report also found that the vast majority of research examining the effects of the Internet on the brain has been conducted in adults -- and so more research is needed to determine the benefits and drawbacks of Internet use in young people.
- To help with this, there are also now a multitude of apps and software programs available for restricting Internet usage and access on smartphones and computers -- which parents and carers can use to place some 'family-friendly' rules around both the time spent on personal devices, and also the types of content engaged with.