Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Internet brings challenges to Marubo tribe – addiction and laziness

Published 8 June 2024
- By Editorial Staff
Two older people from the Marubo tribe in traditional costume.

Since the Marubo tribe in the Brazilian Amazon gained access to the internet nine months ago, elders say more people have become addicted to pornography and social media. There is also a perception that many have become lazier and that more people are exhibiting “aggressive sexual behavior”.

The people of Marubo gained access to the internet about nine months ago through Elon Musk’s Starlink internet service, which is known for its ability to connect remote areas. It was initially welcomed, and is intended to be used, among other things, to connect with the outside world in emergency situations, such as fatal snake bites or similar. Meanwhile, it has quickly changed the culture of the small tribal community, where more and more people are said to be addicted to both pornography and social media.

– When it arrived, everyone was happy, 73-year-old Tsainama Marubo told the New York Times. But now, things have gotten worse. Young people have gotten lazy because of the internet, they’re learning the ways of the white people.

“Aggressive sexual behavior”

Alfredo Marubo, 40, who shares his tribe’s last name, is also worried about how access to the Internet could turn social norms upside down. Among other things, he points to the fact that many young men have shared pornographic videos in group chats and that there has been more “aggressive sexual behavior” among some of them.

– We’re worried young people are going to want to try it, he says of the films the men watch.

Marubo is located in Brazil, about two days’ walk and a boat ride from nearest society. The tribe has about 2,000 members and is described as a “chaste” tribe, where they normally don’t even kiss each other in public.

Many young people also spend an extreme amount of time on their cell phones, which affects their daily lives, including reports that some are so connected that they do not even talk to their families. It also has a negative impact on the food supply.

– In the village, if you don’t hunt, fish and plant, you don’t eat, says 42-year-old Tama-Say Marubo. Some young people maintain our traditions, others just want to spend the whole afternoon on their phones.

Limited cell phone use

But they say the Internet connection has been helpful in establishing stable contact with the outside world. This includes sharing educational resources with other tribes, staying in touch with family living in other parts of the world, or getting help in emergencies.

Village leaders have now decided to limit internet use to two hours in the morning and five hours in the evening. On Sundays, it is okay to sit all day if you want. At the same time, parents worry that the damage caused by internet access has already been done, and village elders fear that their history and culture, passed on through storytelling in social settings, will disappear altogether.

Even some officials in Brazil, according to the New York Times, have expressed skepticism about bringing connectivity to remote communities because of the perceived risk of eroding local cultures.

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