Facebook Spies Zap Kids' Brains

Scientists say social networking websites are bad for the noggin

By Caitlin Millat
|  Tuesday, Feb 24, 2009  |  Updated 11:51 AM EDT
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Facebook Spies Zap Kids' Brains

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Privacy thief Facebook is slowly killing kids' brains, a leading expert says.

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In case you needed another reason to hate Facebook, here it is:

The Internet's No. 1 time-waster and privacy stealer is also systematically smashing its kiddie users' brains to bits, a leading expert says.

Social networking websites like Facebook and MySpace shorten kids' attention spans, encourage self-centeredness, and promote instant gratification, Oxford University neuroscientist Baroness Susan Greenfield told London's Daily Mail.

The sites can 'rewire' younger users, reducing their brains to the levels of "small babies," Greenfield said.

"My fear is that these technologies are infantilizing the brain into the state of small children who are attracted by buzzing noises and bright lights, who have a small attention span and live for the moment," she said.

Sites like Facebook essentially encourage children to remain child-like for a longer amount of time, Greenfield said, stopping emotional and intellectual growth.

Bad for us, good for the Jonas Brothers, whose careers just got longer.

Facebook has dominated teens' on-screen time since the site began several years ago - studies show adolescents spend most of their 30 online hours each week on social networking sites.

Facebook last month instituted new terms of service that said the site owned in full all of the content on its site - including photos, chat logs and comment threads posted by users. It changed back to the old system when thousands of users protested the privacy theft.

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