Good or bad Effects of internet surfing

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Internet access has accelerated the learning and in some ways it boosts creativity among humans. But at the same time this useful technology is producing 'internet addicts'.
Internet surfing becomes a bad habit when you spend hours in front of computer on daily basis and quit other activities. But despite of being a victim of 'internet addiction' is there any good or positive side of internet surfing?
What happens inside our brain when we surf internet regularly for hours? Gary Small, a neuroscientist at UCLA in California who specializes in brain function, has found through studies that Internet searching and text messaging has made brains more adept at filtering information and making snap decisions. "We're seeing an evolutionary change. The people in the next generation who are really going to have the edge are the ones who master the technological skills and also face-to-face skills," Small told Reuters in a telephone interview. "They will know when the best response to an email or Instant Message is to talk rather than sit and continue to email." In his newly released fourth book "iBrain: Surviving the Technological Alteration of the Modern Mind," Small looks at how technology has altered the way young minds develop, function and interpret information. Small, the director of the Memory & Aging Research Center at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior and the Center on Aging at UCLA, said the brain was very sensitive to the changes in the environment such as those brought by technology. He said a study of 24 adults as they used the Web found that experienced Internet users showed double the activity in areas of the brain that control decision-making and complex reasoning as Internet beginners."The brain is very specialized in its circuitry and if you repeat mental tasks over and over it will strengthen certain neural circuits and ignore others," said Small. "We are changing the environment. The average young person now spends nine hours a day exposing their brain to technology. Evolution is an advancement from moment to moment and what we are seeing is technology affecting our evolution." Small said this multi-tasking could cause problems. He said the tech-savvy generation, whom he calls "digital natives," are always scanning for the next bit of new information which can create stress and even damage neural networks. "There is also the big problem of neglecting human contact skills and losing the ability to read emotional expressions and body language," he said. "But you can take steps to address this. It means taking time to cut back on technology, like having a family dinner, to find a balance. It is important to understand how technology is affecting our lives and our brains and take control of it." Source: Surfing the internet "alters your brain"
Good news is that internet surfing may prevent the age related changes which cause the brain to slow down. (So women start surfing the net!) New research shows that surfing the web may be a good way of boosting your brain power and preventing age-related changes that cause the brain to slow down. "Internet searching engages complicated brain activity, which may help exercise and improve brain function," University of California's Professor Gary Small said. Although the study was only small in scale - with 24 volunteers aged between 55 and 76 - the results were considered "encouraging". The volunteers' brains were scanned while they performed web searches and book-reading tasks. Researchers found that compared to reading, web searching stimulated areas of the brain which controls decision-making and complex reasoning. This is because it requires people to make choices on what to click on to find what they want. So next time you catch yourself searching for the latest online bargains, banish those guilty feelings - you may just be doing your brain a favor! *
Web surfing boosts brain power

Alan Royal believes regularly surfing the internet not only keeps his own mind sharp, but also those of his ageing computer students. The 75-year-old has tutored hundreds of Wellingtonians at SeniorNet - a volunteer computer training organisation aimed at users over 55 - and said new technology is changing the lives of the elderly. New research has shown that middle-aged and elderly people can benefit from searching the internet to stimulate the brain. The study, carried out by scientists at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), was published in the latest edition of the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. Mr Royal said SeniorNet usually had a membership of about 900 - "but unfortunately at our age, we've got a habit of dying off". He said learning new things involving the internet, as well as having other interests, meant his students, some of whom were nearing 90, were keeping their brains active. The UCLA scientists found that browsing the internet triggered parts of the brain that control decision-making and complex reasoning - which may improve brain function. They tested 24 volunteers with normal brain function between the ages of 55 and 76; half were Web-savvy and half had no online experience. The study participants searched the Web using browsers such as Google while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans to record changes in brain circuitry. All participants showed significant brain activity, but the Net-savvy group showed double the brain activation during Web use compared with those who had had little Internet experience. The researchers said the Web-savvy group also registered greater activity in the areas of the brain which control decision-making and complex reasoning. Useful links: - Surfing the internet keeps old brains active
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