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

A lonely tribe in the Amazon has finally gotten online, thanks to Elon Musk, only to be torn apart by social media and an addiction to pornography, elders lament.

Brazil’s 2,000-member Marubo tribe has been bitterly divided since the arrival of the Tesla founder’s Starlink service nine months ago, which connected the remote rainforest community along the Ituí River to the web for the first time.

“When he arrived, everyone was happy,” said Tsainama Marubo, 73 The New York Times. “But now things have gotten worse. Young people have become lazy because of the Internet, they are learning the ways of white people.”

The Marubo are a chaste tribe, who disapprove even of kissing in public, but Alfredo Marubo (all Marubo use the same surname) said he is eager for the arrival of the service, which provides superfast Internet to the farthest corners of the world . of the planet and has been presented as a game changer by Musk, it could raise the standards of decorum.

Alfredo said many young Marubo men have been sharing 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,” he said, referring to the kinky sexual acts they were 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 low-orbiting satellites. The necessary antennas were donated to the tribe by American entrepreneur Allyson Reneau.

Initially, the internet was heralded as a positive for the remote tribe being able to quickly contact authorities for help in emergencies, including potentially deadly snake bites.

“He has already saved lives,” said Enoque Marubo, 40.

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

It has also opened up a world of possibilities for young Marubo people, some of whom have been unable to conceptualize what lies beyond their immediate surroundings.

A teenager said it Times who now dreams of traveling the world, while another says she aspires to become a dentist in Sao Paulo.

However, Enoque also complained about the significant disadvantages.

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

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

Tribal members have become so dependent on it that Marubo leaders, fearing that the history and culture – which is passed down orally – could be lost forever, have now limited Internet access to two hours each morning, five hours each evening and all day on Sunday.

But parents still fear 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’m afraid that suddenly they want to imitate them,” he said.

Meanwhile, others say they are victims of 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 helping connect the Marubo to the Internet.

He believes anxieties about the Internet are overblown and says most tribal members “wanted and deserved” access to the world wide web.

However, some Brazilian officials have criticized the system’s introduction into remote communities, saying particular cultures and customs could now be lost forever.

“This is called ethnocentrism,” Dutra said of such 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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