Today's news, tomorrow's lesson - Social media limit pre-teens’ development, warns neuroscientist

A renowned neuroscientist has issued a stark warning about how pre-teens are being exposed to the effects of social networks, with potentially profound consequences.

Today's news, tomorrow's lesson - 18 October

Social media limit pre-teens’ development, warns neuroscientist


A renowned neuroscientist has issued a stark warning about how pre-teens are being exposed to the effects of social networks, with potentially profound consequences.

Baroness Susan Greenfield, a former director of the Royal Institution of Great Britain, has told the TES that sites such as Facebook and Twitter are having unforeseen effects on the development of young children’s minds.

“One shouldn’t be surprised if a child playing in a park or playing in the street has a different mindset from a child limited to their room,” she said. “There are attempts to get every young child into juvenile social networking under parental supervision, but they are not protected by [anyone] saying kids are too young to be on the internet.

“There is a natural appeal of keyboard and screen to small children and they are starting to adapt to the environment that is screen-based. I am worried about what amount of time a child spends in front of a screen. I feel they are not living a full life, they are living a 2D life.”

Her comments come as a new study of children’s internet use led by researchers from the London School of Economics found that 28 per cent of children aged 9 or 10 in the UK have a social networking profile – despite most providers such as Facebook having a minimum age of 13. The authors of EU Kids Online also warn that the UK is distinctive in having many under-13s who lie about their age to get access to social media.

The study surveyed 25,000 children aged 9 to 16 in 33 countries across Europe. The researchers found that, in the UK, children first use the internet younger than the international average – at 8 years old – and tend to spend more time online.

For more on this story, see tomorrow’s TES magazine.



Related resources


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Further news resources


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In the news archive index