Internet slows intellectual development in children, Turkish official says
Hürriyet photoExcessive Internet use harms the intellectual development of children, according to Professor Necdet Ünüvar, the head of the Parliamentary Commission on Informatics and Internet Resarch.
The Internet is like a double-edged sword, which could cause harm if it is not utilized properly, Ünüvar said during an interview with Seda Şimşek of daily Bugün.
Children were found to suffer from attention deficit disorder due to carrying out multiple tasks simultaneously on the Internet such as checking Facebook, playing games and reading news all at once. A study has revealed that 11-year-old children today are two or three years behind in mental development when compared to children of the same age 15 years ago, Ünüvar said. "This is caused by the children's inability to concentrate," Ünüvar said. "They can concentrate better with paper; children should not forget about books."
Ünüvar cited research conducted by Professor Hayrünisa Belen of Gazi University, which reportedly shows that 15-year-olds who used the Internet excessively are two years behind their peers in mental development. "Today's youth can access more information with greater speed but this is the outcome," Ünüvar said.
Ünüvar also said today’s teenagers can be called "screenagers" because they are in the habit of quickly scanning information on monitors and are constantly bombarded with information. "A person in their early 20s has been exposed to a total of 30,000 hours of online information flow. A child uses the internet eight hours per week until he or she turns 12," Ünüvar said.