According to a new research conducted by an international team of scientists, frequent internet usage can change our brains and affect our attention capabilities, memory processes and social interactions. The team showed the internet’s design is changing both the structure and abilities of the human brain.

As per Futurism, the team put hundreds of participants through memory and cognitive tasks as well as brain scans. The study found that heavy internet users performed worse at memory tasks and a generally more readily distracted.

“The key findings of this report are that high-levels of Internet use could indeed impact on many functions of the brain. The limitless stream of prompts and notifications from the Internet encourages us towards constantly holding a divided attention,” said lead researcher Joseph Firth, “which then in turn may decrease our capacity for maintaining concentration on a single task.”

Study co-author Josh Firth explained that the internet has dramatically changed the opportunity for social interactions, and the ‘contexts within which social relationships can take place’.

“It’s now critical to understand the potential for the online world to actually alter our social functioning, and determine which aspects of our social behavior will change, and which won’t,” said Firth.