Remote Amazonian Tribe Reportedly “Addicted” To Social Media And Pornography After Being Given Internet Access

Natasha Biase

Members of a remote Amazonian tribe have revealed that porn and social media addiction are now plaguing their village after Starlink installed antennas nearby. The problems arose after American entrepreneur Allyson Reneau donated antennas to the 2,000-member Marubo tribe at its request in 2022.

According to New York Times, the Marubo people, who have lived in huts along the Ituí River isolated from civilization for hundreds of years, are among one of hundreds of tribes across Brazil that were granted internet access via Elon Musk’s satellite company, Starlink.

After Musk visited Brazil in 2022, tribe leader Enoque Marubo and Indigenous activist Flora Dutra sent letters to Congress asking to bring Starlink to the remote village. Despite sending over 100 letters, their pleas were ignored by politicians, prompting Dutra to reach out to Reneau after hearing her speak at a space conference.

Shortly after, Reneau, a motivational speaker and mother to 11 children, invested $15,000 toward 20 antennas and flew to the remote village to help hand-deliver them to the Marubo people.

Although internet access was received warmly by the tribe at first for providing them with opportunities to connect with friends and family or call someone in an emergency, 73-year-old Tsainama Marubo explained that there have also been many consequences.

“When it arrived, everyone was happy. But now, things have gotten worse. Young people have gotten lazy because of the internet,” she said. “They’re learning the ways of the white people.”

Despite stressing that she doesn’t want the tribe to be stripped of its internet access, Tsainama explained that the installation of the satellites has resulted in social media addiction, internet scams, gossip and misinformation, and pornography addiction among minors.

Others, such as a vocal internet critic Alfredo Marubo, expressed that his biggest concern is the pornographic videos circulating in group chats. Despite the culture frowning upon kissing in public, he noted that the tribe had witnessed a rise in “aggressive sexual behavior” among the young men watching porn.

Similarly, Enoque, who believes Starlink granted the Marubo people “new autonomy” that allowed them to better communicate with each other and get help in emergencies, expressed that excessive cell phone use changed the tribe’s routine “so much that it was detrimental.”

“In the village, if you don’t hunt, fish and plant, you don’t eat,” he explained, adding that the tribe had to limit internet use to two hours in the morning and five hours in the evening every day but Sunday, when access is unlimited.

“I think the internet will bring us much more benefit than harm,” Enoque said, adding that despite some of the ramifications caused by the satellites, the leaders agree the tribe “can’t live without the internet.”

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