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We’ve all heard this warning from our parents: looking at a screen all day will rote your brain. An international team of researchers from various universities around the world revealed the unpleasant lasting effects of internet addiction on the user’s attention and memory.

An international team of researchers at Sidney, Harvard, Oxford, Manchester and Kings College say that the Internet can make acute and permanent changes in certain areas of the brain’s cognitive system, and in a way that can affect memory capacity and social interactions.

The extensive report, led by Dr Joseph Firth, Senior Research Fellow at NICM Health Research Institute, Western Sydney University and Honorary Research Fellow at The University of Manchester, combined the evidence to produce revised models on how the Internet could affect the brain’s structure, function and cognitive development.

“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 Dr 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.”

Along with the widespread adoption of online technologies and social media, this is also a concern for teachers and parents. The World Health Organization’s guidelines for 2018 recommended that young children (aged 2 to 5 years) be exposed to screen time of one hour or less per day. The report also stated that most of the research investigating the effects of the Internet on the brain was carried out in adults, and therefore more research is needed to determine the benefits and disadvantages of using the Internet in young people.

Nowadays, we know that internet is an indispensable environment for everyone.It is impossible not to leave the Internet completely, but we owe it to our bodies to limit the internet time. Phone manufacturers help us to get away from the screen with new software. I strongly recommend using these tools. Take care of your body…

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