How much time do you spend online? It's hard for most to say, especially in the modern world, where Internet-connected mobile devices make it possible to always have a connection nearby.

Today, we use the Internet for all sorts of purposes, ranging from paying bills to chatting with friends through Facebook, Twitter and instant messaging services. There may be some serious dangers lurking behind this trend, however. Recent studies have shown that frequent Internet use reduces users' attention spans. In fact, people who spend more than a few hours per day online risk atrophy in the parts of the brain that regulate speech, motor control, memory and other important functions. This problem disproportionately affects teens, who now spend more time online per day than any previous generation since the 1990s.

The most dangerous aspect of this looming threat is that it can't be easily solved. Our offline and online lives are so intertwined that it would be nearly impossible for Internet addicts to completely quit using the Internet. And judging by average Internet usage per day, many otherwise well-adjusted people would qualify as Internet addicts.

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