Social Whisper

Social Networking – More harm than good?

Posted on: February 26, 2009

Over the last couple of days a growing number of articles have been catching my eye which appear to have all originated from a debate in the House of Lords created by neuroscientist Lady Greenfield.

Her comments suggest that social networking sites have a negative impact on our brains, especially in younger people which causes shortened attention spans, encourages instant gratification and make young people more self-centred, resulting with an inability to empathise and a shaky sense of identity.

people online

While most articles are reporting on this news without passing much comment there others which are sensationalising this information but are social networks really to blame for this change in behaviour?

The description of ‘shortened attention spans and instant gratification’ has been used many times to describe the lives of people in the western world with every thing from TV consumption to meals have evolved that allows us to receive it when and where we want it.

This change in our behaviour is not a new realisation with everybody from scientists, to the media as well as consumers aware of how time poor our lives have become resulting in a change in our behaviours to become more self centred with weakened connections between friends and loved ones.

So while social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Bebo might be making this change more apparent they may actually be a way of bring us back together as a community.

Despite this I still believe that especially young people need to have developed social skills face to face in an offline environment for this to be the case. People who have no other experience of ‘real life’ and live solely through their online worlds will naturally be distanced from reality.

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