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

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A reclusive tribe in the Amazon region finally got an internet connection thanks to Elon Musk – but was then torn apart by addiction to social media and pornography, tribal elders complain.

Brazil’s 2,000-member Marubo tribe has experienced a deep divide following the launch of the Tesla founder’s Starlink service nine months ago, which connected the remote rainforest community along the Ituí River to the internet for the first time.

“When it arrived, everyone was happy,” said Tsainama Marubo, 73 The New York Times“But now everything has gotten worse. The Internet has made young people lazy and they are learning how white people live.”

The Marubo are a chaste tribe who frown upon even kissing in public – but Alfredo Marubo (all Marubo use the same surname) said he was concerned that the launch of the service, which brings superfast internet to the farthest corners of the earth and has been touted as groundbreaking by Musk, could upend codes of etiquette.

Alfredo said that many young men from Marubo share porn videos in group chats and he has already observed “more aggressive sexual behavior” in some of them.

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

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

Initially, the Internet was hailed as an advantage for remote tribes, who could now quickly contact authorities for help in emergencies, including potentially fatal snake bites.

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

In addition, members can share educational resources with other tribes in the Amazon and connect with friends and relatives who now live elsewhere.

In addition, a world of possibilities has opened up for young Marubo, some of whom were unable to imagine what lay beyond their immediate surroundings.

A teenager told The times that she now dreams of traveling the world, while another says she dreams of becoming a dentist in São Paulo.

However, Enoque also complained about significant disadvantages.

“The routine has changed so much that it has been harmful,” he explained. “If you don’t hunt, fish and plant in the village, you have nothing to eat.”

“Some young people hold on to our traditions,” added TamaSay Marubo, 42. “Others just want to spend the whole afternoon on their cell phones.”

The addiction among the tribesmen has become so severe that Marubo leaders, fearing the loss of their oral history and culture forever, now have limited access to the Internet for two hours each morning, five hours each evening, and all day Sunday.

Nevertheless, parents fear that the damage may already have been done.

Another father, Kâipa Marubo, said he was worried because his children were playing violent first-person shooter games.

“I’m afraid they’ll suddenly want to imitate her,” he explained.

Others report that they have fallen victim to internet fraud because they lack digital skills, while many young people chat with strangers on social media.

Flora Dutra, a Brazilian activist who works with indigenous tribes, was instrumental in bringing internet access to the Marubo.

She believes fears about the Internet are exaggerated and believes that most tribal members “wanted and deserved” access to the World Wide Web.

Nevertheless, some Brazilian politicians criticise the introduction in the remote communities on the grounds that special cultures and customs could be lost forever.

“That’s called ethnocentrism,” Ms. Dutra said of this criticism. “The white man thinks he knows what is best.”

This article originally appeared in the NY Post and was reproduced with permission

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