INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - There's a new phrase in the medical world: "digital dementia."
Doctors say it has to do with attention, concentration and memory problems, among young people especially teenagers.
Doctors at St. Vincent Hospital are looking closely at this because brain development in young people and teenagers is so crucial.
South Korea is considered the most "wired and digitally connected" society in the world. One in five people use their phones for seven hours a day or more.
Researchers there say because of that, they're seeing people dealing with short term memory loss and other problems.
The manager of the Clinical Neuropsychology Department with St. Vincent says cell phones, tablets, the internet and televisions are working our brains in a different way and not working them in others.
"Some of those neuro connections get strengthened over time and those that don't receive those kind of reinforcements from the environment tend to diminish. So it's that whole notion that if we are changing, significantly altering a child's environment during development, that's going to have neurological changes to it as well," Dr. Jon Thompson told 24 Hour News 8.
Thompson says digital devices are good learning tools but in moderation!
The American Academy of Pediatrics says that the time your children spend on digital devices needs to limited. In fact, they say anyone 2 years old and younger should not be using digital devices at all.
"Turning off the TV at dinner time can be really important. So instead of watching TV while you're scarfing down your grilled cheese, you have a conversation with your family. There is that social interaction piece that is important for social esteem and social development of sort of cues and responses," Thompson says about growing the important social portion of the brain.
Thompson went on to tell 24-Hour News 8 that if a child or teen is spending a majority of his or her time on a digital device, they will likely have limited time of social interaction and physical activity, which is so crucial for brain development.
Digital devices might not be solely to blame but it is part of the cycle that leads to memory, attention and concentration problems.
Thompson says to let your child's brain relax for a significant amount of time before bedtime saying "That continues to activate the brain and with that activation, the brain doesn't get into that normal sleep rhythm and if kids aren't sleeping well at night then they're not going to remember things throughout the course of the day. They will be more irritable and have difficulty with attention so there are some things that we can do as parents to limit that as much as you possibly can."
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