Amazon tribe gets Starlink internet, becomes addicted to porn and social media

But it also saved lives in the Marubo community.

The internet a remote tribe in the Amazon rainforest discovered thanks to a donated antenna and access to the satellite network Starlink has brought joy and some modern bad habits to its members.

The Marubo people – mainly youngsters – have rapidly gotten hooked to social media, streaming soccer games, first-person shooters, chat services, and… pornography.

"When it arrived, everyone was happy, but now things have gotten worse,” 73-year-old Tsainama Marubo, an elderly of the tribe, was quoted as saying by the New York Times

As young men, in particular, dive into the digital world, they started sharing porn and other explicit videos in group chats – an unprecedented event in a culture where public displays of affection are taboo, says Alfredo Marubo, a leader of the tribe's village association.

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"We're worried young people are going to want to try what they see in porn materials," Alfredo added.

Culture shift

The Marubo have been using Starlink since September, thanks to an American woman who bought antennas to connect them to the satellite network. Now, some tribe members fear the internet threatens their culture. Young people prefer their smartphones over traditional socializing, isolating them from their elders.

Exposure to the outside world has fueled teenagers' dreams of exploring beyond the rainforest, risking the loss of their oral history and cultural traditions.

And there are even bigger risks: youngsters prefer internet over communication with their own families, have become lazy, and want to try everything white men do, according to the tribe’s seniors.

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The internet's drawbacks have determined leaders to impose strict usage windows, shutting off the connection outside designated times. However, none in the tribe wants to give up on the internet.

Live savior

In spite of all negative aspects of the internet, even the elderly realized its benefits. In such a remote area, effortless and instant communication is transformative.

New job opportunities have emerged, and villages can now coordinate via group chats and reach out to local authorities more easily.

The internet has even saved lives. Enoque Marubo, a tribe member, cited incidents like venomous snakebites, which required immediate medical treatment.

"Our leaders have been clear," he said. "We can't live without the internet."

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