Is your tech use causing 'Digital Dementia?'

Is your tech use causing 'Digital Dementia?'
SEATTLE--Have you heard the term digital dementia?

A brain researcher in South Korea says he's found evidence of "short term memory loss" in young kids because of all the digital games and smartphones they use.

Many believe South Korea is the most wired and digital society on Earth, and its high technology use, may be resulting in that digital dementia.

While some of us older folks grew up remembering phone numbers and key information by memorizing it--many kids in the digital age have grown up not needing to remember things like phone numbers because we have devices that do it for us.

It may seem like an easy way out, but can lead to development of the rational, linear, fact-finding skills of the left side of the brain at the expense of the right side which is more intuitive, imaginative and emotional.

And that is likely a problem and may create a brain that is out-of-whack.

"Overuse of smartphones and game devices hampers the balanced development of the brain," the researcher Byun Gi-won, told the Korea JoongAng Daily.

Gi-won is a medical doctor who runs the Balance Brain Center in southern Seoul, which helps people with cognitive problems related to computers and smartphones.

University of Washington students, and fraternity brothers, Josiah Harrison, Jason Martel and Donnie Wilcox have been heavy players of video games.

Martel said he started playing probably about age 10. Wilcox said he began about age seven or eight.

Have all those years of game playing improved their cognitive ability?

"I guess I have better hand-eye coordination, maybe," Martel said.

Said Harrison: "I don't think it affects my memory, wastes my time for sure."

But Donnie Wilcox sees some merit to the study on digital dementia - digital devices remember everything for you.

"We just assume we can use technology for things," Wilcox said. "We always used to have to remember them."

"You don't have to think about it very much anymore which is kind of sad. It's very convenient but it also detracts from what you are doing," he said.

The study found a correlation between heavy consumption of digital gadgets and short term memory loss in young people.

"Your news feeds, the plot of the video game, it's not really meant to keep your brain focused on one specific thing for a long amount of time; and it just trains our minds to now want to do that," said Luke Clearwater, 19, while waiting at the Northgate Transit Center in Seattle.

Clearwater said he doesn't memorize phone numbers he just clicks the name on on his smartphone and it starts calling.

So when it comes down to exercising your brain, that left and right brain kind of thing, try remembering something like a phone number, a task our devices do that now.

Common symptoms of digital dementia include memory problems, shortened attention span and emotional flattening.