How to Deal with Digital Dementia?

Milica author

Milica Vujasin

Content Writer

Nowadays we live in a digital age – where information just keeps spreading. And let’s face it, people are now spending most of their time on a digital screen. Every day, by sharing the hundreds of emails, thousands of instant messages and social media notifications – our lives are contributing to the phenomenon of Digital Dementia.

So, whether for the work or for their own needs, the consummation is just too much. Free time is no longer spent doing productive things outside, but rather staying home at the computer. People are unaware that the cognitive functions of our brains suffer from overusing technology.

After prolonged and daily use of technology, our brains’ cognitive abilities can experience a breakdown. And with breakdown comes the negative effects. Those negative effects can lead necessarily to improving one’s productivity. Also, let’s not forget the obsession the young generation has with smartphones.

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What Is Digital Dementia?

About Dementia

Before we define digital dementia, there is a term “dementia” that is also important.

Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning—thinking, remembering, and reasoning—and behavioral abilities to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities. These functions include memory, language skills, visual perception, problem-solving, self-management, and the ability to focus and pay attention.”

Usually, all those symptoms are observed in older people. Nowadays, they are also observed in teenagers in their 20s and 30s, and even small kids – which leads to the term “digital dementia”.

Digital Dementia Definition

“Digital Dementia” is a term coined by neuroscientist Manfred Spitzer that he has adapted from South Korean researchers who first observed this phenomenon.

“Compared to the real world, there is more lying and cheating in the internet environment and this, in turn, affects our own behavior” – he said as he presented the Internet addiction as a warning sign for the future.

In his 2012 book, Digitale Demenz, he describes that when we overuse technology, we lose some of our cognitive abilities much the same as people who have suffered a head injury, psychiatric illness or a stroke.

Spitzer’s book says people who rely too heavily on technology can suffer from a deterioration of brain function like short-term memory. He also proposes that short-term memory pathways will start to deteriorate from underuse if we overuse technology.

Digital Dementia Statistics

  • Teens and youngsters in South Korea, one of the most digitally-wired nations in the world, are increasingly showing signs of digital dementia.
  • Teens from South Korea are spending around 7 hours a day attached to their smartphones, computers and gaming consoles.
  • Over 64% of teenagers in South Korea own a smartphone.
  • South Korea has one of the highest Internet penetration figures in the world with over 83% of the population having easy access to the Web.

What Are The Symptoms of Digital Dementia?

Signs of digital dementia in teenagers/adults:

  • slouched posture
  • developmental delays
  • short-term memory loss
  • social seclusion
  • lack of movement
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • anger
  • balance disorders
  • uncoordinated movement patterns

Sings of digital dementia in kids:

  • Flexor dominant posture
  • Developmental delays
  • Inability to remember number patterns or directions
  • Social seclusion
  • Lack of motivation
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Forgetfulness
  • Anger for no apparent reason
  • Uncoordinated movement patterns

Is Digital Dementia Really Damaging The Brain?

According to Fox News: “The left side of the brain is generally associated with rational thought, numerical computation, fact-finding, while the right side of the brain is responsible for more creative skills and emotional thoughts. If the right brain remains underdeveloped in the long term, it can lead to the early onset of dementia.”

Let’s take an example. Most people now have tons of numbers in their phone, but how many of those numbers do actually know?

In case of an emergency, would you be able to tell someone’s phone number?

Before we used to remember it because it was fun to know as much as numbers as you can. Now, you have a phone to memorize it.

So, it is obvious that spending time on a smartphone or a computer prevents people from focusing and memorizing information. We’ve become so dependent on technology we are not even aware of that. And that is ruining our brains.

With the high use of computers, children and teenagers are nowadays less rely on their brans because computers can do the most research and thinking for them. They don’t even need to read a book anymore for school because they can find all the needed information about it on the internet.

Research about memorizing phone numbers in Korea

Tips To Avoid Digital Dementia?

To have a life without overusing technology today seems impossible. However, there are a few things you could try to avoid digital dementia:

Cut technology from time to time

Don’t let the phone be the first thing you see or do in the morning. Also, no phones at the dinner table should be a rule for everyone. Connect with your family, friends, whoever you have a meal with, don’t distance.

Do outdoor activities. Go out and enjoy the sun. Exercise. Join a club.

Simply spend time away from a television, computer or smartphone. You’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish and you’ll start to get creative with ways to keep yourself entertained.

Let exercises become your daily routine

By doing physical activity, you are improving your cognitive functions and your brain’s sharpness. It is a recommendation for both children and adults.

Tip from Lifemark: “Stretch your arms above your head and tip your head back. Lay on your stomach and perform a few back extensions. Make a point of doing 5-10 reps a few times per day. We instinctively do this when we wake up because it actually stimulates the nervous system. This will counteract our constant forward, flexed posture.”

Related: How to Achieve Work-Life Balance

And a few more tips:

  • If you use the computer all day on your work, you should try to take regular breaks to get up and move around. Walking will help your brain to rest a little.
  • Posture. It is important to maintain a normal one while spending time on the computer, especially when using them all day.
  • Read a book. Reading an actual book instead of a tablet improves memory retention.
  • Don’t forget to shut down your WiFi modem and router before sleeping. You will probably not do this every night, but if you don’t want the radiation to continue reaching you when you’re not even using the device, you should!
  • Try to manage available time more efficiently and with a certain goal set in mind! Some time management techniques could help with that!

Final Thoughts

Finally, we can conclude that users rely on their smartphone to remember even the smallest information, which means that forgetfulness has surged. After learning what Digital Dementia is, ask yourself, do you or some of your relatives have the symptoms, and then try to follow the tips written before. And try to use your smartphones less for the things you could do without it – the first step of avoiding dementia.

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How to Deal with Digital Dementia? was last modified: June 6th, 2019 by
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