This is your brain online
By Rob Spiegel
01/12/12 12:53 PM PT
Maybe the Internet won't exactly fry your brain, but it could change it in other unwelcome ways. A new study found a correlation between Internet addiction and specific brain changes often observed in alcoholics and drug addicts. There was evidence of disruption to the connections in the nerve fibers that connect brain areas involved in emotions, decision making and self-control.
Too many hours of Internet use might actually change your brain. Researchers in China have concluded that those who are addicted to the Internet may experience changes in the brain that are similar to those seen in individuals hooked on drugs or alcohol.
Are You Powerless Over Social Networking?
Titter all you want over Twitter addiction. The fact is, not being able to put the keyboard down is a growing concern—especially for sober addicts looking for a high.
by Laura Barcella
"My friend Allie knew her Internet stalking habit had gotten out of control when she had to install parental control software. Not for her kids (30 and based in San Francisco, Allie is single with no children), but for herself, to forcibly prevent her from peeking at her ex-boyfriend’s social networking profiles. “At times it felt incredibly compulsive,” she recalls. “Very much like the compulsion to drink and do drugs, before I got sober. I was thinking, ‘Don't do this; it won't end well,’ but I went ahead and did it anyway.”
"Allie’s case may be extreme, but she’s far from alone. Millions of people regularly use social networking hubs like Facebook and Twitter. Many of us, too, turn to everyday mood-alterers like alcohol, drugs, food, sex, or caffeine to numb out. But just like Pinot Grigio isn’t the cause of alcoholism, the Internet itself isn’t to blame for our overreliance on it. It’s how—and how often— websites are used that can become problematic. Some people innocently rely on social media to keep family, friends, and friendly strangers informed about their everyday lives. But in recent years, as American culture has Facebooked, Tweeted and Spotified its way into full-blown online overload, an unlucky few—some who are cross-addicted to other substances, like Allie—have become outright Internet junkies."