Are social networking sites encouraging infantilism?


A recent report in the Guardian has highlighted the lack of research and understanding of the impact of social networking sites such as Facebook, Bebo and Twitter.  The report comments that:

“Social network sites risk infantilising the mid-21st century mind, leaving it characterised by short attention spans, sensationalism, inability to empathise and a shaky sense of identity, according to a leading neuroscientist. The startling warning from Lady Greenfield, professor of synaptic pharmacology at Lincoln college, Oxford, and director of the Royal Institution, has led members of the government to admit their work on internet regulation has not extended to broader issues, such as the psychological impact on children. Greenfield believes ministers have not yet looked at the broad cultural and psychological effect of on-screen friendships via Facebook, Bebo and Twitter. She told the House of Lords that children’s experiences on social networking sites ‘are devoid of cohesive narrative and long-term significance. As a consequence, the mid-21st century mind might almost be infantilised, characterised by short attention spans, sensationalism, inability to empathise and a shaky sense of identity’.”

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3 Comments

Filed under Ethics, Social Networking

3 responses to “Are social networking sites encouraging infantilism?

  1. Great issue, Mr Unwin. (But wrong link to Guardian, though :P)

  2. I wonder if this is a problem of facebook and other SNSs or a main aspect of post-modern times, and can thus be generalized to other media like TV… or the Guardian itself: infantilising… sensationalism…

    ];)

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