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Calm Down! Facebook, Twitter, computer games may not harm kids

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Washington DC, Aug 13 : Experts have clarified that there is no scientific evidence which backs theory that intense use of internet and computer games can harm the adolescent brain.

Susan Greenfield of the Lincoln College Oxford claimed that social networking sites could negatively affect social interaction, interpersonal empathy, and personal identity, however, scientists at University College London and the University of Oxford have said there was currently no proof from neuroscience studies t support that.

They said that the claims were not based on a fair scientific appraisal of the evidence and were misleading to parents and the public at large, adding that the bulk of research did not support the characterisation.

According to the researchers, in terms of affecting personal identity, evidence from Facebook suggested that people generally portray their identity accurately.

They said that Greenfield’s claims were misleading to the public, unhelpful to parents, and potentially stigmatising to people with autism.

Another claim was that the intense use of computer games could lead to impulsiveness, a shorter attention span, and aggression. However, the authors said that studies on video gaming give a much more nuanced conclusion.

The scientists acknowledged that valid concerns exist about digital technology, but said that these were in danger of being overshadowed by the current debate.

They added that online safety was another important concern and needs to be tackled at the individual, community, industry, and policy levels.

The study is published in the journal BMJ. (ANI)