Smartphones Give Young People 'Digital Dementia,' Say Doctors

Tuesday, 25 Jun 2013 03:41 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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Young people have become so reliant on electronic devices that some suffer from "digital dementia" giving them a limited attention span and the inability to retain simple facts, physicians in South Korea say.

"Overuse of smartphones and game devices hampers the balanced development of the brain," Dr. Byun Gi-won of the Balance Brain Centre in Seoul told the JoongAng Daily newspaper.

"Heavy users are likely to develop the left side of their brains, leaving the right side untapped or underdeveloped."

Special: How One Deck of Cards Has Shown to Improve Memory.

The disturbing conclusion is important coming from South Korea because it has the highest percentage of cellphone users in the world.

More than 67 percent of South Koreans have a smartphone, with more than 64 percent in teenagers owning one.

And 14 percent of young men and women 18-39 complain of having poor memory skills.

The symptoms of "digital dementia" are similar to those of people who  have suffered a head injury or psychiatric illness, with their cognitive facilities diminished.

Those diagnosed also suffer from emotional underdevelopment.

And youngsters are at higher risk because their brains are continuing to develop.

The condition will probably become even more prevalent as cell phone use increases.

Doctors say young people 10-19 years use their smartphones for more than seven hours every day.

A previous study by UCLA revealed young people are having more memory problems than ever before — thanks to computer use and texting.
Those activities prevent people focusing and memorizing.

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