Is using the internet changing our brains—and—a new report on girls and “cyberbulling.” Show Notes

Friday, June 21, 2013 Host(s): Dr. Bill Maier
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Is using the internet changing the way our brains work

The website Mashable.com has published a chart full of statistics and quotes from various sources, summarizing what scientists have discovered about the ways the Internet seems to be shaping our minds.

During an average day, most people now spend about 8.5 hours engaged with screens and only 20 minutes reading the printed page.

And in the past 12 years, the average American's attention span—for example, in a conversation--fell from twelve seconds to just eight.

For those who are considered Internet addicts, the brain areas responsible for speech, memory, motor control and the senses have decreased by 10% to 20%.

Similarly, brain scans of heavy Internet users showed "fundamentally altered prefrontal cortexes.” Brain scans of web newbies using the internet just five hours in a week also demonstrated evidence of the brain beginning to reconfigure itself.

Yikes, I’d better get off the computer!

In other tech and culture news, girls are twice as likely to experience online bullying as boys.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 11% of teen boys and 22% of teen girls have been victims of “cyberbullying.” 

That's critical information, because the same study shows that teens bullied online are more than three times as likely to engage in suicide attempts than peers who aren't bullied. By the way, the highest rate of attempted suicide was among kids who were picked on both at school and online.

If your child is being bullied online, go to stopbullying.gov to find out how to stop it.

I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.

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