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Internet, smart phones cause digital dementia
OUR CORRESPONDENT  London | 29th Jun 2013

Doctors have warned that the excessive use of smart phones and the internet is causing "digital dementia" among the young, it has been reported. The Daily Telegraph writes that the term, coined in South Korea, refers to a "deterioration in cognitive abilities that is more commonly seen in people who have suffered a head injury or psychiatric illness".

The newspaper quotes Dr Byun Gi-won, of Seoul's Balance Brain Centre as saying that the "over-use of smart phones and game devices hampers the balanced development of the brain. 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 associated with the power of concentration; its failure to develop affects the memory span, which could in as many as 15% of cases lead to the early onset of dementia, the Daily Telegraph continues. Sufferers of digital dementia, particularly children because their brains are still growing, also risk emotional underdevelopment. In South Korea, 67% of whose population- the highest in the world-have smart phones, the situation may be worsening, doctors have warned. Over 18% in the 10-19 age group use their smart phones for more than seven hours a day.

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