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Effect of Excessive Internet Use on Brain, Memory and Concentration

A recent study done in this regard reveals that excessive internet use cause teenagers' brains to waste away. Scientists discovered signs of atrophy of grey matter in the brains due to excessive use of internet which worsened over time. This not only effect their brain but also their concentration and memory as well as the ability of making decisions and setting goals. All these activities can be considered as the root cause 'inappropriate' behaviour.


Researchers took MRI brain scans of students from 18 universities. The ages of participants were 19 and they spent eight to 13 hours a day playing games online, six days a week. The set of eight questions were administered on them including whether they had tried to give up this obsession of using computers and whether they had lied to family members about the amount of time they spent online.


The researchers compared them with another controlled group of 18 students who spent fewer than two hours a day on the internet. The MRI images focused on grey matter at the brain's wrinkled surface, or cortex, where the processing of memory, emotions, speech, hearing and motor control occurs. After comparing the grey matter between these two groups revealed atrophy within several small regions of all the online addicts' brains.

ARE YOU ADDICTED TO THE WEB?

Take the Test:

1. Do you feel absorbed in the internet (remeber previous online activity or long for the next sesssion)?

2. Do You feel satisfied with inetrnet use if you increase your amount of online time?

3. Have you failed to control, reduce or give up internet use repeatedly?

4. Do you feel nervous, temeperamental, depressed or sensitive when trying to reduce or give up internet use?

5. Do you stay online longer than originally intended?

6. Have you taken the risk of losing a significant relationship, job, educational or career opportunity because of the internet?

7. Have you lied to your family members, terapist or others to hide the truth of your involvement with the internet?

8. Do you use the internet as a way of escaping from problems or of relieving an anxious mood, eg feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety or depression?

You are an internet addict if you answered 'yes' to questions one to five and to at least one of the remaining questions.
 
The scans showed that the longer time they spent on internet the 'more serious' the damage was. The researchers also observed changes in deep-brain tissue called white matter, through which messages pass between different areas of grey matter in the nervous system. These structural abnormalities are related with functional impairments in cognitive control. They also added that these abnormalities could have made the teenagers more 'easily internet dependent', and concluded these as the consequences of IAD (Internet Addiction Disorder)'