U.K. Scientist Urges Internet 'caution'

BIRMINGHAM, England, Sept. 15 (UPI) — A British scientist says society must investigate the possible harmful effects on the brain of the Internet, social networking sites and computer games.

Neuroscientist Susan Greenfield said the issue was “almost as important as climate change,” The Daily Telegraph reported Wednesday.

“I think the quality of our existence is threatened,” she said. “We need discussions about this, we need debate, we need more of an effort put in.”

She made her remarks at the British Festival of Science at Aston University in Birmingham.

Some “very good things” were coming out of burgeoning information technology, she said, but “we have got to be very careful about what price we are paying.”

“We should acknowledge that this is bringing an unprecedented change in our lives and we have to work out whether it is for good or bad,” she said.

Social networking sites might reduce empathy, Greenfield said.

Using search engines to find facts may hinder the ability to learn, while computer games could “make us more reckless in our day-to-day lives,” she said.

“Rather than sleepwalking into this we should be the masters and not the slaves of technology and harnessing it in ways that we could do exciting and fulfilling things with,” she concluded.

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