You will not like it at all to discover the effect of social networks on children

Children’s intelligence is at risk because the massive use of social networks and technological devices impoverishes the complexity of thinking

The biggest concern that parents experience, when we talk about children and social networks, concerns the dangerous encounters that the little ones can have online. After all, we have heard too many stories that ended in tragedy. However serious as it is, this is not the only problem we face when we think about the relationship our children have with the web.

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Children’s intelligence is at risk, and it is because the massive use of social networks and more generally of technological devices impoverishes the complexity of thought, reducing it significantly. This is a condition which in reality also affects adults, but which has more serious consequences for the very young.

Social networks, computers and smartphones make us stupid. This is what thinkers, researchers and experts say in no uncertain terms, fueling a debate that is too often underestimated. Among these we find Manfred Spitzer, German neuropsychiatrist and director of the Center for Neuroscience and Learning of the University of Ulm, who in recent years has been dedicating his career to the relationship between brain development and media use.

His is the book Digital Dementia. A text that explores this “syndrome” identified by some Korean specialists who already in 2008 had talked about the flattening and decline of the little ones’ ability to reason and learn.

In his book Manfred Spitzer, he explains that the use of social networks and devices forces the child to know the world through a single experience, the digital one. It no longer colors getting its hands dirty, but does so by moving a finger. He doesn’t talk to others, he doesn’t listen to them, but he reads them through a screen.

It is clear that in this way, not being forced to reason, to act, to choose, it simplifies everything with technology, and the complexity of thought is greatly undermined.

To echo Manfred Spitzer, there is also the writer Nicholas George Carr, author of the book Internet makes us stupid? How the net is changing our brains. Does technology really make us less intelligent? According to the writer, it significantly simplifies our way of thinking, reasoning and orienting ourselves towards the world.

Research conducted by Stanford University and published in the Wall Street Journal also highlighted a rather worrying situation with respect to the use of social networks and the web by young people. The study showed that a good percentage of young people, of different age groups, cannot distinguish true from false news. The reason? They absorb everything they can from social networks, in a continuous flow, without knowing how to distinguish the sources with criticality.

This study also shows that the situation is alarming, and it is especially so in younger subjects who approach information, culture and learning through these tools. As Stanford University states, we cannot ignore the consequences that social networks have on children, we must rather change our approach and educate them to use them correctly.

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