An international team of scientists found that the Internet does affect the brain, and changes affect areas of attention, memory, and social interaction, MedicalXpress reported.
"The key findings of this report are that high-levels of Internet use could indeed impact on many functions of the brain. For example, the limitless stream of prompts and notifications from the Internet encourages us towards constantly holding a divided attention—which then in turn may decrease our capacity for maintaining concentration on a single task," said Firth. "Additionally, the online world now presents us with a uniquely large and constantly-accessible resource for facts and information, which is never more than a few taps and swipes away. Given we now have most of the world's factual information literally at our fingertips, this appears to have the potential to begin changing the ways in which we store, and even value, facts and knowledge in society, and in the brain."
To minimize the potential negative effects of the Internet, experts advise in particular to minimize multitasking when using the Internet, reduce online activity in the evening and pay more attention to personal communication.
This is especially important in the case of children: parents should limit the time they spend on smartphones and computers. The children are most vulnerable to such phenomena as cyberbullying and the formation of addictive behavior.
The research results are published in the journal World Psychiatry. Specialists from the University of Western Sydney, Harvard University, King’s College, University of Oxford and the University of Manchester participated in the study.