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South Korean Teens Show Signs Of "Digital Dementia"

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 04:13 PM CDT

Doctors in South Korea are warning the world about a surge in what they're calling "digital dementia" among young people in their country.  They say over-use of smartphones and game devices is leading to a deterioration of brain functions normally seen in people who have suffered head injuries or a psychiatric illness.


Byun Gi-Won, a doctor at the Balance Brain Centre in Seoul, tells the Joongang daily newspaper that, "Over-use of smartphones and game devices hampers the balanced development of the brain."  He says, "Heavy users are likely to develop the left side of their brains, leaving the right side untapped or underdeveloped."  The right side of the brain is linked with concentration and if it doesn't develop properly that will affect attention and memory span.


South Korea is the canary in the coal mine on this this issue since more than 67% of Koreans have a smart phone.  That's the highest in the world.  And here's an interesting stat: 18.4% percent of South Koreans ages 10-19 use their smart phones more than seven hours a day.  That says addiction more than it does dementia according to Dr. Manfred Spitzer, a German neuroscientist.  In The Daily Telegraph, he warns that the deficits in brain development are irreversible and is calling for digital media to be banned from German classrooms before their children become addicted.


By Fred Cantu


 

South Korean Teens Show Signs Of "Digital Dementia"


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