Do computer games and internet use wreak havoc on young brains? That’s the debate I seem to have been dragged into, thanks to the potentially adverse effects of information technology (IT) that I described in my recent book Mind Change.
As the Telegraph detailed, an article in the British Medical Journal has now accused me of scaremongering. But its authors (one of whom is a colleague of mine at Oxford University) have got the wrong end of the stick.
I have never suggested that reasonable use of the internet “harms” the adolescent brain. But it’s worth noting that recent research shows that some teens are using IT for up to up to 18 hours per day, when media-multi-tasking is taken into account . Palatable or not, other research suggests that intense use of the internet and video games may lead to microstructural abnormalities in the brain, and the effects may be comparable to those of drug abuse.
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