How to Deal with Digital Dementia?

Milica author

Milica Vujasin

Content Writer

⏱ Reading Time: 5 minutes

Welcome to the digital age!

The age where many things are done by computer and large amounts of information are accessible because of computer technology. And let’s face it, people are now spending most of their time on digital screens. Every day, by sharing the hundreds of emails, thousands of instant messages, receiving social media notifications – our lives are contributing to the phenomenon of Digital Dementia.

People have become frighteningly dependent on technology to the point of ruining their brains. Whether for the work or for people’s own needs, the consumption is just too much. Free time is no longer spent doing productive things outside, but rather staying home at the computer.  

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And 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. Plus, younger generations are now obsessed with smartphones and social media platforms.

In this article, we will learn more about digital dementia, its symptoms and share some tips on how to avoid it!

What Is Digital Dementia?

Digital Dementia is a term introduced by neuroscientist Manfred Spitzer. He adapted this term from South Korean researchers who first observed this phenomenon.

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. But nowadays, they are more and more noticeable in teenagers and even small kids, which leads us to the term that explain that addiction – digital dementia.

Smartphone addicition

Picture 1. Smartphone addiction

In Spitzer 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 also 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.

“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.

Digital Dementia Research and Statistics

  • Over 67% of people are connected to digital devices in South Korea, which is more than anywhere else in the world.
  • Teens from South Korea are spending around 7 hours a day attached to their smartphones, computers and gaming consoles.
  • Research from The Guardian reveals that one-third of pre-school children own a smartphone or a tablet.
  • With over 83 percent of the population having simple access to the Web, South  Korea has one of the largest Internet penetration statistics in the world.

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. 

There was a time when we could quickly memorize anything with ease. Such as phone numbers, but now many people are struggling to remember these simple things as they are already saved on our mobile devices.

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

Before, memorizing numbers was a usual thing to know. And for kids, it was always fun to learn as much as numbers they can. Now, you just have the technology to remembers it for you.

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.

Research about memorizing phone numbers in Korea

Tips To Avoid Digital Dementia

To have a life without overusing technology today seems impossible. But, here are a few tips that might help you 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. And don’t use it when having lunch or dinner. That 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 try to spend some time offline. 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’s a recommendation for adults and kids.

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 a book rather than 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 handle the time available more effectively and with specific objective in mind! Some time management techniques could help with that!

Final Thoughts

We can conclude that users depend on their smartphone to remember even the smallest data. Meaning forgetfulness has risen. 

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 from the article. And also, 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: July 6th, 2020 by
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