Monday, June 24, 2013

Digital dementia on the rise in Korea

One of the several negative side effects of having the world's most extensive and fastest networks, along with extremely high usage rates of those networks, is internet addiction.   With the mobile revolution and the arrival of the iPhone, this evolved into smartphone addiction.  Today The Joongang Daily carried a lengthy article on a related malady, digital dementia.  The following excerpt from the article, which is well worth reading, suggests the nature of the problem.

"Internet addiction was recognized as a problem in both adults and young people as early as the late 1990s. Now Korea is discovering a scourge called “digital dementia” - the kind of early onset dementia, or deterioration of cognitive abilities, that usually only comes about following a head injury or psychiatric illness.

Korean doctors are finding a growing number of cases of memory problems, attention disorders and emotional flattening among kids and teens spending too much time web searching, texting and using multimedia.

They think young people are at particular risk because their brains are still developing.

“Overuse of smartphones and game devices hampers the balanced development of the brain,” says Byun Gi-won, a medical doctor who runs the Balance Brain Center in southern Seoul, which helps people with cognitive problems related to computers and smartphones."

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