Tag Archive for 'internet'

Internet addiction change brain functions

Chang MLY, Lee IO (2024) Functional connectivity changes in the brain of adolescents with internet addiction: A systematic literature review of imaging studies. PLOS Ment Health 1(1): e0000022.

Internet usage has seen a stark global rise over the last few decades, particularly among adolescents and young people, who have also been diagnosed increasingly with internet addiction (IA).

IA impacts several neural networks that influence an adolescent’s behaviour and development. This article issued a literature review on the resting-state and task-based functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies to inspect the consequences of IA on the functional connectivity (FC) in the adolescent brain and its subsequent effects on their behaviour and development. A systematic search was conducted from two databases, PubMed and PsycINFO, to select eligible articles according to the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Eligibility criteria was especially stringent regarding the adolescent age range (10–19) and formal diagnosis of IA. Bias and quality of individual studies were evaluated.

The fMRI results from 12 articles demonstrated that the effects of IA were seen throughout multiple neural networks: a mix of increases/decreases in FC in the default mode network; an overall decrease in FC in the executive control network; and no clear increase or decrease in FC within the salience network and reward pathway. The FC changes led to addictive behaviour and tendencies in adolescents.

The subsequent behavioural changes are associated with the mechanisms relating to the areas of cognitive control, reward valuation, motor coordination, and the developing adolescent brain. Our results presented the FC alterations in numerous brain regions of adolescents with IA leading to the behavioural and developmental changes. Research on this topic had a low frequency with adolescent samples and were primarily produced in Asian countries. Future research studies of comparing results from Western adolescent samples provide more insight on therapeutic intervention.

Musk linked Amazzonie at internet

If one wanted to know what the effects of the use of smartphones might be on a population that had never used the Internet as a communication and new social life, Elon Musk did the perfect experiment, demonstrating that the negative effects that we are analyzing on young people can be produced within 12 months in a population that was completely outside of our system.

Elon Musk has decided to bring internet connection to the remote village of the Marubo, an isolated tribe living along the banks of the Ituì River that remained immune to civilization until the arrival of the Net.

As “The New York Times” explains, the Marubo number two thousand and have always lived in the heart of the Amazon rainforest, far from civilization. As of September 2023, their lives have completely changed thanks to the arrival of the Internet in their village

It did this through Starlink, the service of Space X, its space company. It launched 6,000 low-orbit satellites and connected remote areas in every corner of the Earth: from the Sahara, to the Mongolian grasslands, to the atolls of the Pacific. A leap into modernity. An opportunity for populations anchored in their eternal past.

After nine months, two New York Times reporters went to the Amazon to see how this technological revolution had been received and the effects it had produced on a pristine tribe. The experiment was positive, but destabilizing. “When the net arrived,” Tsainama Marubo, 73, one of the village elders, explained to the two reporters, “everyone was happy. There was novelty and a lot of curiosity. A world unknown to us was opening up from these screens. The Internet offered many obvious advantages. Like chats with distant loved ones and the ability to call for help in an emergency. But things have gotten worse now.” Tsainama looks around and with a wave of his hand points to the village bathed in unreal silence. “There,” he sojourns, “they are all there, focused on their phones. They have become lazy. They don’t talk, they don’t work, they don’t move. They are as if dumbfounded. They scroll through pictures, they read with the translator, they browse hours and hours immersed in a coma that frightens.”

Age to access at social media

To those who are still convinced that the use of cell phones and social media by children and adolescents is an absolutely positive thing, they can read this news.

The city of New York has provided an example of what can be done globally by initiating legal proceedings against three social media giants: TikTok, Facebook, and YouTube. They are accused of exacerbating the mental health crisis among children and adolescents by exploiting their vulnerability to generate addiction to their platforms. Mayor Eric Adams has filed this lawsuit, which echoes a similar legal action initiated in California in 2022. The complaint focuses on aggressive marketing tactics and algorithms that, according to the accusation, “attract, trap, and fuel addiction in young people,” exposing them to harmful content.

Florida, on the other hand, has decided that platforms are required to close accounts that are believed to be used by children under 14, while teenagers who are already 14 or 15 years old can have a profile only with parental consent.

In France, Macron has established a commission on these issues which has reached the following proposals. According to the commission, the use of smartphones and tablets must be regulated according to age. In summary, the rules are as follows: an absolute ban on screens before the age of 3, a ban on cell phones before the age of 11, a ban on the internet before the age of 13, a ban on access to social media before the age of 15, and between the ages of 15 and 18, access only to “ethical” social networks, excluding Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, and Telegram. The experts have also called for a fight against so-called “predatory services” that connect users with the start of automatic video streams, mostly characterized by scenes of pornography and violence. This is a sort of guide particularly for parents, whose individual responsibility is directly called into question.

In Italy, the minimum age for registering on social networks is 14, while 18 years are required to conclude an online contract for a specific application or to join a community. In other words, children under 14 cannot register on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and all other social networks. However, there is a clause that would allow them to join social platforms as users. Children under 14 can, in fact, have access if they obtain parental consent. The problem is that the dangers of the web are many and the youngest are often unaware of them. Driven by the group and the community, they decide to surf and register on social media to feel part of something and to emulate the older ones.

These are examples of how many institutions are moving to curb the problems generated by the use of smartphones among young people and how the perception of the gravity of this phenomenon is becoming increasingly evident in the Western world.

The online brain effects

Firth J, Torous J, Stubbs B, Firth JA, Steiner GZ, Smith L, Alvarez-Jimenez M, Gleeson J, Vancampfort D, Armitage CJ, Sarris J. The “online brain”: how the Internet may be changing our cognition. World Psychiatry. 2019 Jun;18(2):119-129.

The impact of the Internet across multiple aspects of modern society is clear. However, the influence that it may have on our brain structure and functioning remains a central topic of investigation. Here we draw on recent psychological, psychiatric and neuroimaging findings to examine several key hypotheses on how the Internet may be changing our cognition. Specifically, we explore how unique features of the online world may be influencing:

  1. attentional capacities, as the constantly evolving stream of online information encourages our divided attention across multiple media sources, at the expense of sustained concentration;
  2. memory processes, as this vast and ubiquitous source of online information begins to shift the way we retrieve, store, and even value knowledge; and
  3. social cognition, as the ability for online social settings to resemble and evoke real-world social processes creates a new interplay between the Internet and our social lives, including our self-concepts and self-esteem.

Overall, the available evidence indicates that the Internet can produce both acute and sustained alterations in each of these areas of cognition, which may be reflected in changes in the brain. However, an emerging priority for future research is to determine the effects of extensive online media usage on cognitive development in youth, and examine how this may differ from cognitive outcomes and brain impact of uses of Internet in the elderly.

We conclude by proposing how Internet research could be integrated into broader research settings to study how this unprecedented new facet of society can affect our cognition and the brain across the life course.