Forgetting something? We all could be, says a recent study from South Korea. Chances are you keep your smart phone really close—but beware. Relying too heavily on digital devices is causing problems with short-term memory in teens and young adults. The phenomenon, deemed “digital dementia,” has the potential to affect the minds of generations to come.
“Overuse of smartphones and game devices hampers the balanced development of the brain,” Byun Gi-won, a doctor at the Balance Brain Centre in Seoul, told the JoonAng Daily newspaper. “Heavy users are likely to develop the left side of their brains, leaving the right side untapped or underdeveloped.”
Dementia is not a term that’s dropped frequently with young, fit guys, so what gives? Well, whipping out your iPhone or tablet every time you need an answer is seriously hampering your brain’s ability to think for itself. Almost anything can be found with a click of a button or a swipe of the finger, therefore the need to memorize new information is becoming outdated, so to speak.
How do you prevent this from happening to you? Have an actual conversation. Seriously. Skip the quick text; pick up the phone and dial. Engaging in more conventional forms of communication can offset the consequences of your tech addiction.
Exercise, of course, will also keep your brain functioning at optimal levels. When you break a sweat you increase blood flow and transportation of nutrients. In this case, letting your impressive training regimen go to your head is actually a good thing.
Finally, crack open a book. It might be easier to locate your literature of choice on your computer, but the best way to learn and strengthen your short-term memory is to take a break from those bright screens and try to recall information without the help of technology.