Please read: a personal appeal from Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales Read now Close Psychological effects of Internet use From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation, search This article is written like a personal reflection or essay rather than an encyclopedic description of the subject. Please help improve it by rewriting it in an encyclopedic style. (July 2010) Various researchers have undertaken efforts to examine the impact of Internet use on humans, inter alia through studying brain functions in Internet users.
Some studies assert that these changes are harmful, while others argue that asserted changes are beneficial.  Contents 1 Assertions 2 MRI studies 2. 1 Effect on traditional reading 3 Brain power 4 Effects of social networking and behaviour 5 Attention span 6 Effects of anonymity 7 Internet addiction and disinhibition 8 Escapism 9 Effects on parenting 10 References 11 External links Assertions US-American writer Nicholas Carr asserts that Internet use reduces the deep thinking that leads to true creativity.He also says that hyperlinks and overstimulation means that the brain must give most of its attention to short-term decisions. Carr also states that the vast availability of information on the World Wide Web overwhelms the brain and hurts long-term memory. He says that the availability of stimuli leads to a very large cognitive load, which makes it difficult to remember anything.  Psychologist Steven Pinker, however, argues that people have control over what they do, and that research and reasoning never came naturally to people.He says that “experience does not revamp the basic information-processing capacities of the brain” and asserts that the Internet is actually making people smarter.
 Paul Bansal[who? ] says that “Internet addiction can be a significant threat to one’s health and social well-being in that it enforces antisocial behavior. The addiction can lead to the inability to communicate in the real world by depriving the addict of the daily practices involved with interpersonal communication.The act of using facial expressions or certain gestures to relay intended emotion or emphasize meaning decline as the addict substitutes keystrokes resembling smiley faces, or avatars. Socially, subjects become more inclined to develop personality disorders in which they identify more with their Internet representation than their real-life persona. Ultimately, an addiction to the Internet can cripple one’s ability to maintain a healthy social life. “ MRI studies UCLA professor of psychiatry Gary Small studied brain activity in experienced web surfers versus casual web surfers.He used MRI scans on both groups to evaluate brain activity.
The study showed that when Internet surfing, the brain activity of the experienced Internet users was far more extensive than that of the novices, particularly in areas of the prefrontal cortex associated with problem-solving and decision making. However, the two groups had no significant differences in brain activity when reading blocks of text. This evidence suggested that the distinctive neural pathways of experienced Web users had developed because of their Web use. Dr. Small concluded that “The current explosion of digital technology not only is hanging the way we live and communicate, but is rapidly and profoundly altering our brains. ”  Effect on traditional reading Nicholas Carr experientially asserts that using the Internet can lead to lower attention span and make it more difficult to read in the traditional sense (that is, read a book at length without mental interruptions). He says that he and his friends have found it more difficult to concentrate and read whole books, even though they read a great deal when they were younger (that is, when they did not have access to the Internet).
 This assertion is based on anecdotal evidence, not controlled research.Researchers from the University College London have done a 5-year study on Internet habits, and have found that people using the sites exhibited “a form of skimming activity,” hopping from one source to another and rarely returning to any source they’d already visited. The report says, “It is clear that users are not reading online in the traditional sense; indeed there are signs that new forms of “reading” are emerging as users “power browse” horizontally through titles, contents pages and abstracts going for quick wins. It almost seems that they go online to avoid reading in the traditional sense.  Brain power Research suggests that using the Internet helps boost brain power for middle-aged and older people (research on younger people has not been done. ) The study compares brain activity when the subjects were reading and when the subjects were surfing the Internet. It found that Internet surfing uses much more brain activity than reading does. Lead researcher Professor Gary Small said: “The study results are encouraging, that emerging computerized technologies may have physiological effects and potential benefits for middle-aged and older adults.
9] Internet searching engages complicated brain activity, which may help exercise and improve brain function. “ Effects of social networking and behaviour Evgeny Morozov has said that social networking could be potentially harmful to people. He writes that they can destroy privacy, and notes that “Insurance companies have accessed their patients’ Facebook accounts to try to disprove they have hard-to-verify health problems like depression; employers have checked social networking sites to vet future employees; university authorities have searched the web for photos of their students’ drinking or smoking pot. He also said that the Internet also makes people more complacent and risk averse.
He said that because much of the ubiquity of modern technology—cameras, recorders, and such—people may not want to act in unusual ways for fear of getting a bad name. People can see pictures and videos of you on the Internet, and this may make you act differently.  Attention span [icon] This section requires expansion. (May 2012) According to the New York Times, many scientists say that “people’s ability to focus is being undermined by bursts of information”.
12] Effects of anonymity [icon] This section requires expansion. (May 2012) See also: Internet anonymity and Anonymous post Interacting on the Internet mostly does not involve “physical” interactions with another person (i. e. face-to-face conversation), and therefore easily leads to a person feeling free to act differently online, as well as unrestraint in civility and minimization of authority, etc. Internet addiction and disinhibition [icon] This section requires expansion. (May 2012)Main articles: Internet addiction disorder and Disinhibition People become addicted or dependent on the Internet through excessive computer use that interferes with daily life. “Aric Sigman’s presentation to members of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health outlined the parallels between screen dependency and alcohol and drug addiction: the instant stimulation provided by all those flickering graphics leads to the release of dopamine, a chemical that’s central to the brain’s reward system”.
13] Escapism [icon] This section requires expansion. (May 2012) Main article: Escapism Ease of access to the Internet can increase escapism in which a user uses the Internet as an “escape” from the perceived unpleasant or banal aspects of daily/real life. Effects on parenting [icon] This section requires expansion. (May 2012) “A psychologist, Aric Sigman, warned of the perils of “passive parenting” and “benign neglect” caused by parent’s reliance on gadgets”.