Are social networking sites harming children?

In the past it was Long Playing records and video nasties which threatened the world's youth but now social networking sites are being blamed for the corruption of young people's brain pods.

Sites such as Facebook and Bebo are harming children's minds according to Lady Greenfield, a leading neuroscientist. The professor of synaptic pharmacology at Oxford claims that social networking sites produce shortened attention spans and an inability to feel empathy.

Lady Greenfield told the House of Lords that social networking sites "are devoid of cohesive narrative and long-term significance. As a consequence, the mid-21st century mind might almost be infantilised, characterised by short attention spans, sensationalism, inability to empathise and a shaky sense of identity".

The leading neuroscientist also underlined the danger of "a much more marked preference for the here-and-now, where the immediacy of an experience trumps any regard for the consequences. After all, whenever you play a computer game, you can always just play it again; everything you do is reversible. This type of activity, a disregard for consequence, can be compared with the thrill of compulsive gambling or compulsive eating."

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