Remote Amazon tribe finally connects to internet — only to wind up hooked on porn, social media

A reclusive tribe in the Amazon is finally connected to the internet thanks to Elon Musk – only to be torn apart by addiction to social media and pornography, elders complain.

Brazil’s 2,000-strong Marubo tribe has been left deeply divided by the arrival nine months ago of the Tesla founder’s Starlink service, which connected the remote rainforest community along the Ituí River to the internet for the first time.

“When he came, everyone was happy,” said 73-year-old Tsainama Marubo The New York Times. “But now things have taken a turn for the worse. Young people have become lazy because of the Internet, they are learning the habits of white people.”

The Marubo are a handsome tribe who frown even when kissing in public – but Alfredo Marubo (all Marubos use the same surname) said he was worried about the arrival of a service that provides super-fast internet to remote corners of the planet, and which Mr Musk described as game changer, could raise the standards of decency.

Alfredo said many young Marubo men were sharing pornographic videos in group chats and he had already noticed more “aggressive sexual behavior” in some.

“We’re worried that young people will want to try it,” he said of the strange sexual acts they were suddenly exposed to on screen. “Everyone is so connected that sometimes they don’t even talk to their family.”

Starlink works by connecting antennas to 6,000 low-orbit satellites. The needed antennas were donated to the tribe by American entrepreneur Allyson Reneau.

Initially, the Internet was heralded as a positive for the remote tribe, which was able to quickly contact authorities for help in emergencies, including potentially deadly snakebites.

“It has already saved lives,” said 40-year-old Enoque Marubo.

Members can also share educational resources with other Amazonian tribes and connect with friends and family who now live elsewhere.

It also opened up a world of possibilities for young Maruba, some of whom could not conceptualize what was outside their immediate environment.

One teenager said Times that she now dreams of traveling the world, while another says she wants to become a dentist in São Paulo.

However, Enoque also complained of significant weaknesses.

“It changed the routine so much that it was harmful,” he declared. “In the village, if you don’t hunt, fish and plant, you don’t eat.”

“Some young people are keeping our traditions alive,” added 42-year-old TamaSay Marubo. “Others just want to spend the whole afternoon on their phones.”

Tribesmen have become so addicted that Maruba leaders, fearing that their oral history and culture will be lost forever, now restrict internet access to two hours each morning, five hours each evening and all day on Sunday .

But parents still worry that the damage may already be done.

Another father, Kâipa Marubo, said he was concerned about his children playing violent first-person shooter games.

“I worry that they will suddenly want to copy them,” he declared.

Meanwhile, others say they have fallen victim to internet scams because they lack digital literacy, while many young people chat with strangers on social media.

Flora Dutra, a Brazilian activist who works with indigenous tribes, was instrumental in connecting the Maruba to the Internet.

She believes concerns about the Internet are overblown, arguing that most of the tribe “wanted and deserved” access to the World Wide Web.

Still, some officials in Brazil have criticized the deployment in remote communities, saying that special cultures and customs may now be lost forever.

“It’s called ethnocentrism,” Ms. Dutra said of such criticism. “White people think they know what’s best.”

This article was originally published on the NY Post and has been reproduced with permission

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