Monthly Archives: January 2010

“Is Facebook Damaging Your Brain?”

My brother Bill sent me this youtube link last night – Is Facebook Damaging Your Brain?.

The journalist understandably seizes on the most exciting aspect of neuroscientist Lady Susan Greenfield’s concerns for the title. The edited clips suggest that she sees a possible correlation between social networking and rising rates of ADHD and Autism “over the last 10 years.” Perhaps that suggestion is only in the editing, as she must be aware that social networking is much more recent. Facebook itself was limited to college students and faculty until recently.

Then she says, “…depending on what kind of person you want the next generation to be…”

I wonder if aging adults have a primal fear of losing the attention of their descendants even while becoming more and more dependant upon them. After all, it’s one thing to share photos with Grandma over Facebook, and quite another to drive over with the photos and visit her, and maybe clean the gutters or clear some snow and ice while you’re there.

I’m all for studying the effects of computing on the brain but I wouldn’t worry too much about Facebook as a cause of autism. Instead, I recommend that you make sure you have frequent facetime with Grandma and Grandpa, if you’re fortunate enough to still have them. Go and see what they might need but aren’t asking for.

If you want to worry about brain damage, maybe you should worry more about common chemicals in your environment, for example, Ammonia (
It’s What’s For Dinner)
.