有人在听吗? / Is Anyone Listening?

有人在听吗?

中国社会科学院(the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences)最新研究显示,上网过多对未成年人大脑的损伤可以与滥用可卡因及酗酒相提并论。

这一发现在全球科学界和医学界引起了相当大的轰动,一位英国精神病学家甚至用石破天惊来形容它。

通过对“网瘾症”(IAD)少年的大脑进行核磁共振检查,可以发现他们脑白质中的健康神经元纤维比较少。研究证明,上网时间过长会损害脑白质组织,其作用方式类似于滥用可卡因、海洛因或酗酒。

研究证实了许多专家的猜测,即某些脑部异常的病变方式都是相似的,且无论成瘾原因是物质依赖、上网,还是打电子游戏。

网瘾会破坏认知控制,影响人的决策过程及情感和行为的控制能力。

根据中国青少年网络协会(the China Youth Internet Association)2011年的调查,大陆城市约有2,400万青少年患有“网瘾症”,另有1,800万青少年已出现早期症状。“网瘾”在成年人中也很流行,但数据表明成年人患“网瘾”的程度明显较轻。

中国是全世界网络用户最多、增长最快的国家,同时也拥有全球最大的移动设备用户群,因此必须严肃对待这个问题。

除去脑损伤及行为影响外,众所周知,过度上网和使用移动设备还会影响身体健康。

最近在香港,我和太太看完电影后去一家上海餐厅吃晚饭。我们的邻桌坐着很体面的一家四口:妈妈、爸爸、还有一双未成年的儿女。晚饭中他们几乎一言不发,全都一只手举着筷子,另一只手攥着手机,齐刷刷地盯着屏幕看个不停。

这简直太恐怖了。如果一个年轻的家庭连在不错的餐厅用餐时都不能轻轻松松地聊会儿天,换了其他场合就更不可能了。长此下去对家庭健康十分有害,尤其剥夺了年轻人从家里学习语言交流技巧的重要机会。

看着中国青年甚至不用看手机就能飞快地键入短信,着实令人惊叹。但这样的小技巧一旦脱离于倾听、交谈、为解决问题进行对话、表达个人观点以及团队合作的能力,就完全没有用武之地。

也许学校很快就需要调整课程安排,在课表中增加面对面对话技巧、口语实践、与他人交谈等课程。

但假如学校不教的话,父母最好也要用自己的方式开发孩子的基本对话技巧和与交际能力,否则情况会比脑白质细胞受损还要严重。

Is Anyone Listening?

 
 A recent study by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences concluded that excessive internet use can be as damaging to a teenager’s brain as cocaine or alcohol abuse.

These findings caused quite a sensation among scientists and doctors around the world. One British psychiatrist described them as groundbreaking.

Magnetic Resonance Scans of teens afflicted with Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) revealed less healthy neuron fibers in the white matter of their brains. The study established that excessive online time damages the brain’s white matter tissues in a similar manner to cocaine or heroin abuse, or alcoholism.

The study confirmed what many specialists had suspected, that certain brain abnormalities develop in similar ways whether the addiction is substance-based, internet or video-game based.

The impact of internet addiction undermines cognitive control, which affects the individual’s decision-making process as well as their ability to control emotions and behavior.

According to the China Youth Internet Association’s 2011 survey, an estimated 24 million young people in mainland cities were internet addicts, with another 18 million showing early symptoms. Internet addiction is also prevalent among adults, but data about the extent of the adult problem is less clear-cut.

With the largest and fastest growing internet user population in the world, complemented by the largest mobile device user base in the world, China needs to take this problem very seriously.

Apart from brain damage and its impact on behavior, there are well-known physical side effects to excessive internet and mobile use.

Recently my wife and I had dinner at a Shanghainese restaurant in Hong Kong after seeing a film. At the table next to us there was a nice-looking family of four: Mom, Dad, a teenage boy and his teenage sister. During the meal, hardly a word of conversation took place among them. Using chopsticks with one hand, holding their mobile phone in the other, all four stared at their screens the whole time.

This is kind of scary. If a young family can’t engage in relaxing conversation over dinner in a nice restaurant, it’s not likely they will talk much in other places either. The long-term effects of that on family health are bad enough, but in particular the young people are deprived of an important learning opportunity involving verbal communication skills, which begins at home.

It’s amazing to watch how young Chinese people can input text messages so quickly on their mobiles while hardly even looking at the device. That’s a neat little skill, but it will be useless if not accompanied by the ability to listen to people, talk to people, engage in dialogue for the purpose of solving problems, expressing one’s ideas, work in teams, etc.

Perhaps schools will soon need to modify their curriculum to include course subjects like: face to face conversation skills; verbal conversation practice; talking with others, etc.

If schools don’t, parents better find their own ways to make sure their kids can still develop basic conversation and people skills. Failure to do this will be even more crippling than damage to white brain cells.


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