So far we have been aware of senile dementia, where the patient belongs to the category of the elderly and suffers from mental health problems, such as short term memory dysfunction, disability to concentrate, etc. In recent years, however, another type of dementia strikes on young people who overuse modern and “smart” devices, the so-called digital dementia.
The benefits of digital technology are undeniable and have brought great changes to our lives. However, there is also the dark side of the issue stemming from overuse. Excessive engagement and dependence on the internet for everything, information, communication, entertainment, drives the young generation into dangerous paths, both for its physic and mental health and balance.
Children and young people are at greater risk rather than adults, because their brains are still in development. Lack of concentration, memory blanks and emotional disturbances (even depression), are some of the symptoms that should set off alarm bells.
South Korean scientists have noticed an increase in cases of this type of dementia among young people in their country, who have a worsening of their mental capacities, equivalent to those who suffer a head injury or psychiatric illness. It is noteworthy that South Korea is the most wired country on the planet (over 67% from the general population, mostly young people) and with the most internet addicts.
A similar study was conducted by the American University of California (UCLA), which showed that young people spend about 7 hours a day attached to their iPads, smartphones, computers and gaming consoles, with highly disturbing results for their brain function.
“Use it or lose it,” say foreign experts. We Greeks would call it “everything in moderation”. Putting the brake on the uncontrolled use of digital technology, especially to our children, is certainly not easy. And it gets even harder when it’s us who gave them the leeway and freedom to use it at will… However, it is necessary to explain the problem and put limits, as the risk of addiction is big and the impact on their health quite severe.
Let us motivate them to take on creative occupations and hobbies, such as sports, arts, reading, music and spend more time with their family and friends, apart from devices and connections. And of course we as parents must first of all give a good example by spending more quality time with our children.
Feed your brain …it’s good for you!