by Dr. Sylvia Hart Frejd

When we hear the word “dementia” we immediately think of an elderly person sitting in a rocking chair at a nursing home. But there is a new cognitive condition that is affecting younger people some even in their early teens and 20’s its called “digital dementia.” A UCLA study found that about 14 percent of young people aged between 18 and 39 complained of memory problems.

Digital dementia is defined as the deterioration of brain function as a result of the overuse of digital technology, such as computers, Smartphones and Internet use in general, Medical Daily reported. They go on to say that this excess use of technology leads to unbalanced brain development, as heavy users are more likely to overdevelop their left-brains, leaving their right brains underdeveloped.

We associate the left side of the brain with rational thought, numerical computation and fact finding, while the right side of the brain is responsible for more creative skills and emotional thoughts. So if the right brain remains under developed in the long term, it can lead to the early onset of dementia.

Some common symptoms of digital dementia:

·       Memory problems                                                                                                   

·       Shortened attention spans                                                                                               

·       Emotional flattening

Numerous clinics have been established in South Korea to address digital dementia, such as the Balance Brain Center in southern Seoul. Many experts have called for Internet addiction to be classified, as a mental disorder and that it should be treated as a major public health issue. Here in American the newest release of the DSM-V, which is considered the Bible of Psychology, did not include Internet Addiction as a viable disorder.

Dr. Manfred Spitzer, a German neuroscientist, published a book titled “Digital Dementia” in 2012 that warned parents and teachers of the dangers of allowing children to spend too much time on a laptop, mobile phone or other electronic devices. Dr. Spitzer warns that the deficits in brain development are irreversible and called for digital media to be banned from German classrooms before children become “addicted.”

Ways to improve the right side of the brain:

·       Spend time in nature

·       Have creative outlets like art and music

·       Work on puzzles

·       Do visual games on lumosity.com

If you suspect this may be impacting yourself or someone you love try to incorporate these activities that will help to develop the right side of the brain to have the optimum whole brain functioning that God has designed.