« People of the Screen | Main | Reading will always be "reading" »

Facebook and Bebo infantilising human minds

I think lady Greenfield is taking some of theories to far. "Human brains are exquisitely sensitive to the outside world", but I don't think social networking sites are putting attentions spans in jeopardy and I don't think this should be an issues looked into. I have a facebook page and most of my friends have one too. From what I’ve noticed and from my own perspective I don't block the real world around me and spend all my time on facebook and neither does my friends. Facebook is a place where you can meet and talk to new people while your online at that time, but if someone spends all their time on these social networking sites then I think they have their own self confidence issues and made need to seek psychological help, but I don't think this effect everyone that visits these sites. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder -- also referred to ADD or ADHD -- is a biological, brain based condition that is characterized by poor attention and distractibility and/or hyperactive and impulsive behaviors and it can has been caused without the help of the popular social networking sites.

Of the number of friends you have on facebook, it doesn't necessarily have to mean that they are really truly your friends. I know I have plenty of "friends" on facebook that I met through someone else or seen around at school and half of them I probably never messaged them or had a real conversation with, but sometimes I just add them as a friend just so I can look at their pictures and see what they either like doing.

If anything’s was "infantilizing the mid-21st century mind, leaving it characterized by short attention spans, sensationalism, inability to empathize and a shaky sense of identity" it wouldn't be social networking sites it would use and the increase in technology in general. Cell phones are one of the popular technologies that everyone uses and people become attached to their phones by texting, instant messaging, sending pictures, and just talking on. If anything the future generations will probably get worse because how much technology is increasing. When most video games are created they are not made to care about the princess or whoever is featured in the video game because that isn't the objective of the game. This isn't a good comparison of social networking sites and where the immediacy of an experience trumps any regard for the consequences, because on facebook there usually aren’t any serious consequences. Some students just don't like to read and that could be the explanation for the loss empathy for a child to read a book.

Site: http://add.about.com/od/adhdthebasics/a/ADHDbasics.htm


I think you make a couple of really good points in your opinion piece, however I do beg to differ on a couple of matters. First, I applaud people who don’t make online socializing a big thing in their lives, but I think the reality is that most people in our age group really enjoy using Facebook and probably spend more time than they should online. I don’t think that it means that most of them have any “self confidence issues” nor do they necessarily “need to seek psychological help”. Perhaps Facebook is a bad habit for many students, but I disagree that someone who spends too much time on Facebook automatically has something mentally wrong with them. Perhaps they need better time management or to simply get off of the couch more, but those problems are not that new in America.
I agree with you that both ADD and ADHD are not products of the internet alone, however I don’t believe that’s the point that the author was trying to make. First of all, she said that if a child (not necessarily someone our age) is exposed from the outset (most likely meaning infancy) “to a world of fast paced action and reaction, such rapid interchange might accustom the brain to operate over such timescales. Perhaps when in the real world, such responses are not immediately forthcoming, we will see such behaviors and call them Attention Deficit Disorder.” What it seems she is really saying is that we could have future generations of children who are raised to expect the instant gratification of the internet, which could lead to mistakenly diagnosing many of them with disorders, just because they have been raised to expect a world where everything is instantaneous and stimulating.

You put forth a very strong argument against anyone saying that facebook is the anti Christ and the reason for so many problems. I am confused on your belief that if someone spends all their time on facebook it instantly means they have self-confidence issues and are in need of physiological help. I agree with that to an extent because I will often scroll through status updates and see many people spill their feelings out through sappy song lyrics (thinking this is a clever way of telling people they are having relationship troubles). I see these as a cry for help and attention but I do not believe it requires professional help. This site is helpful because when someone is having a hard time, they can use the applications to reach out and find points of relation with a friend. I also like your point about the number of “friends” we have. Often you will meet someone at a party and look them up the next day. In order to look at their pictures you need to ask to be there friend, and most of the time will never talk to them again after that. I also agree that the way technology is going, this could get ugly and out of hand. Twitter, as an example, is in place simply so people can always know where each other are. This is an unhealthy program because everyone needs a certain amount of mysteriousness in their life or else they could go crazy. One of your last points was that people are turning to facebook rather than books because they do not want to read. I find that I am reading close to a hundred texts a day, wall-to-wall conversations, biographical information about new friends, and countless status updates. All of this conversation could be equivalent to reading one Grisham novel a day.

In my position I wasn't trying to make it seem like if people spend to much time on facebook they necessarily need physiological help, because I spend a quite a bit amount of time on facebook, but those who block the outside world and don't do anything but be on facebook 24/7 may need help or face confidence issues, but I could have rephrased it. But spending that much time on facebook I think they may have serious problems.

Nice read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing some research on that. And he just bought me lunch because I found it for him smile Therefore let me rephrase that: Thank you for lunch!