Are Teens Cybersafe? Moderate Internet Use Will Not Cause Brain Damage, Says Researcher

Article excerpt

Byline: Steve Connor

MODERATE internet use does not appear to adversely affect the development of teenage brains according to a review of more than 100 published studies of computer use among adolescents.

The findings undermine the arguments put forward by some prominent commentators, such as Oxford neuro-scientist Susan Greenfield, who believe that children are being damaged by prolonged exposure to cyberspace.

However, the author of the latest study emphasised that although she could not find evidence to support Professor Greenfield's hypothesis, there had not been enough research to prove that typical internet use was harmless to the developing adolescent brain.

"The main conclusion from this review was that I did not find evidence that typical internet use is affecting teenage brains," said Kathryn Mills of the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London.

"Finding a lack of evidence is different from finding evidence that there is no effect.

"This is why this is a call for more studies.

"We don't know very much about how typical internet use is affecting the adolescent brain.

"Many of the studies look at individuals with problematic internet use and not many look at the majority of the population.

"We typically hear that the internet could be harming brain development but this is actually skewed because it is based on samples that are not representative of the majority of adolescents. …