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Web Surfing Improves Motor Skills

Soulskill posted about 9 months ago | from the how-kids-convince-parents-to-let-them-browse-for-10-more-minutes dept.

The Internet 33

sciencehabit writes "Don't worry about watching all those cat videos on the Internet. You're not wasting time when you are at your computer — you're honing your fine-motor skills. A study (abstract) of people's ability to translate training that involves clicking and twiddling a computer mouse reveals that the brain can apply that expertise to other fine-motor tasks requiring the hands. The research involved some interesting methodology, including having Chinese migrant workers play the classic arcade game Pong for two hours a day."

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Easily transferrable to other important skills (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45746185)

Like texting on a mobile phone keypad and playing console video games.

Re:Easily transferrable to other important skills (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45746509)

I'm a fast touch typer, and quite good at FPS games, and do a lot of web surfing.

But my handwritting is horrible, and seems to be getting worse. Not sure how my web surfing is affecting this motor skill.

Re:Easily transferrable to other important skills (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45746737)

College killed what was left of my handwriting skill. I learned (this was before tablets and other gadgets, and before the practice of complete PowerPoint decks) to take notes in a sort of shorthand that only I could understand. And then for only a short while afterwards.

Re:Easily transferrable to other important skills (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45749415)

How much handwriting do you do? Your skill is naturally going to decline if you don't practice it, even if your general fine-motor skills have improved.

Re:Easily transferrable to other important skills (1)

Grizzley9 (1407005) | about 9 months ago | (#45748417)

While texting and mouse control provide some dexterity, I believe that fine motor skills are highlighted much better on a PC than a console according to my dismal performance on Battlefield 4.

It's true (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45746235)

I have become very good at one-handed surfing.

Re:It's true (1)

durrr (1316311) | about 9 months ago | (#45746413)

The internet made me ambidextrous.

Re:It's true (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45746465)

Do I need to ask what you were doing with your other hand...?

Re:It's true (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 9 months ago | (#45747557)

That is why hand eye coordination has improved. Minimize when someone walks in.

obligatory amazon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45746245)

Completely relevant []

Porn videos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45746277)

I knew that watching porn videos was improving my "motor" skills.

Ovbiously (1)

SYSS Mouse (694626) | about 9 months ago | (#45746299)

You have to click precisely at the link that is on a small part of the screen.

Re:Ovbiously (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45746493)

I don't think it is the cat videos. I think it is the clicking very precisely with one hand while propping up the computer to forward the video that improves fine motor skills.

Re:Ovbiously (1)

lpevey (115393) | about 9 months ago | (#45747143)

Yes, but these were migrant works, presumably with little previous experience writing or typing or mouse-clicking or doing other things that require much in the way of fine motor skills versus gross motor skills.

I would imagine there is a point of diminishing marginal returns that most of us here passed a long, long time ago. :)

china (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45746359)

The entire study is invalidated by mentioning china. You really don't understand, migrant workers, hukou-less bastards and other rabble are the masters of simple minded QQ games. There is no way in hell you can even approach them. Even if you take a year off just to play pong, these bastards got decades of practice behind them and fierce competition between them. They got hundreds of millions on the score boards!
If you want them to be dumb they'll play be dumb though.

tradeoff (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45746433)

+5 motor

-5 social

Just web surfing? (3, Informative)

rts008 (812749) | about 9 months ago | (#45746451)

I know that is the subject discussed, and I happen to agree with their conclusions, but what about gaming.

I had a 'mild' stroke about 4 years ago, and one of the things affected was my fine motor skills.
Pre-stroke, I enjoyed working with my hands...model building, carpentry, welding/fabricating, leather-work, etc. I also had neat, legible handwriting....not any more. :-(

I was also heavily involved with Fallout 3 and Fallout NV, both playing and making mods.

That endeavor really suffered!...but it was also the very best therapy I found, by far.
I am back up to my prior abilities (more Skyrim now though) with the gaming, modding, and my Blender and GIMP skills are improving even more from the added confidence.

So I'm grateful for that, and now depend HEAVILY on my various spell checkers to keep from appearing an illiterate idiot.

Alas, all is not roses...
I had to put my joystick away. I cannot regain enough hand to eye coordination to fly in games or simulators.
(I used to be an extremely deadly and precise 'pilot' in BF 1942 and it's Desert Combat mod-especially the AH-64 Apache; and kept a Win 98se box around just to play my favorite all time sim: SU-27 Flanker ver. 1.5 Squadron Commander's Edition"...the box is stored with the joystick now)

Re:Just web surfing? (1)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | about 9 months ago | (#45746527)

Can you not further improve your motor skills through repeated Skyrim playing (or moving onto more demanding games), or is there simply a limit on how much you can do now?

Re:Just web surfing? (2)

rts008 (812749) | about 9 months ago | (#45747199)

Probably so, but I am making progress quick enough to suit me, and further improvement is still ongoing.

But at the same time to answer your second question, I think there are permanent limits I will not be able to overcome.
That is mostly age related, as you age, your body decreases in ability to repair damage to itself, and repairing damage from a stroke involves the brain 're-wiring' itself to bypass the damage(dead areas of the brain killed off by the stroke).
There are limits to the damage it can reroute and recover functions even in a young person, but it gets tougher for the older ones.

I'm hopeful progress will continue, but at 56 years old, I'm trying not to be delusional about it.

I'm really more grateful the damage was as little as it was, compared to other stroke victims I have witnessed!

Re:Just web surfing? (1)

LoRdTAW (99712) | about 9 months ago | (#45746569)

May I ask what was the cause of your stroke and what age were you? Strokes run in my family and my father suffered a severe one at age 46 which basically rendered him brain dead. He died in a nursing home 9 years later. His father suffered one around age 65 in the late 80's but like you regained most of his motor skill after a few years. So I am paranoid about strokes.

Re:Just web surfing? (1)

rts008 (812749) | about 9 months ago | (#45746903)

The cause: my bad judgement and stupidity without a doubt: a prolonged drinking binge with bad vodka.

I was off work on Workman's Comp form an injury, awaiting surgery, and too much time on my hands.
Incidentally, that coincides with a dramtic increase to my /. 'foes' list, and getting many messages I was added to numerous /.'ers 'foes' lists!

My age was 51? I think. as an added note I have had a heart attack back in 1998 also.

Strokes are serious and wildly variable in their effects and outcome.

Keep close watch on your blood pressure, and manage it as necessary. this seems to be a big factor in preventing strokes. Hypertension is your enemy here. Talk to your doctor about it, really.

The reason I called mine 'mild' was the resulting damage was limited to slightly impaired fine motor skills, and a mild speech impairment: I can't always get said what is in my mind to say, almost like my mouth disconnects from my brain. Also, I cannot stay awake for prolonged periods like I used to (LAN Parties!). After I am awake about 14-15 hours, I become impaired as if I had been drinking, slurred speech, unsteady balance and more impaired motor functions. Cheap Date! Don't need to drink, just stay awake!

All but the sleep thing has steadily improved with use, but there can be frustrating times. :-)

Try to take care of your health while young and it pays big dividends as you age!

Web surfing improves web surfing skills (1)

ugen (93902) | about 9 months ago | (#45746577)

We interrupt this program to bring you an important update: typing all day on the keyboard makes you type faster. Report at 11.

te;dr (Too Expensive; Didn't Read) (1)

theodp (442580) | about 9 months ago | (#45746659)

$31.50 to read this paper [] ? Puh-lease!

In related news.... (1)

Alsee (515537) | about 9 months ago | (#45746941)

The same researchers plan to do a study on the new electronic social networking phenomena. All of the test subjects will be given pagers for two hours a day.


I play real table tennis (1)

fredrated (639554) | about 9 months ago | (#45746969)

and it has helped my hand-eye coordination, as well as the control of my wrist. As well as keeping me fit. Better and more fun than 'pong'.

Doctor, doctor, I'm suffering from fine tuning... (1)

Boss, Pointy Haired (537010) | about 9 months ago | (#45747019)

...of my motor skills.

That'll be RSI in your thumb.

If you haven't already you'll soon develop a callus on your little finger where your smartphone normally sits.

What does using Facebook, Twitter, etc. improve?? (1)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | about 9 months ago | (#45747133)

First it was video games that improved hand-eye coordination. Now, web surfing improves motor skills.

I think I see the pattern, and I can even automate my next submission headline:


Pong != Web Surfing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45747175)

However I can see where quickly moving the mouse pointer to hide the web browser window so that the boss/wife doesn't see the pron window can finely hone motor skills.

for all you naysayers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45747313)

I agree 100%

Productive testing (1)

FreeFire (1957226) | about 9 months ago | (#45747493)

Instead of playing Pong, shouldn't they have been gold mining in WOW?

Playboy and Video Games... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45751603)

improve hand/eye coordination.

True for me at least (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45752373)

I have a WPM speed of ~120, and good enough coordination and motor skills to play Mushuhimesama Futari and Touhou on Lunatic. I often attribute this to my habit of almost obsessively (or maybe truly obsessively when I'm really absorbed by what I'm reading, rarely when I'm not absorbed) highlighting the line I'm reading over and over, like so And as I have only a touchpad, it improves coordination quite a bit. I have to agree with this study, web surfing for me really has improved my motor skills, to a certain extent at least.

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