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Step away from your iPhone: Digital Dementia

by Pat Heydlauff

Originally posted at on August 5, 2013

I’m always telling my young teens to turn off their smartphones and look up once in a while. When I explain that their brains are going to turn to mush, they just roll their eyes. Well now I have proof, thanks to Dr. Bun Gi-won of the Balance Brain Center in Seoul, Korea. He’s coined this state of brain mush: “Digital dementia.”

Dementia usually describes deterioration in cognitive abilities. Digital dementia describes a deterioration of cognitive abilities resulting from over-use of computers, smart phones, gaming consoles and the internet in general.

Dr. Bun Gi-won says: “Over-use of smartphones and game devices hampers the balanced development of the brain … heavy users are likely to develop the left side of their brains, leaving the right side untapped or underdeveloped.” It is the right side of the brain that is linked with concentration, creativity, innovation and emotional development. Digital dementia includes other side effects such as problems with attention, organization, orientation, problem solving, social communications and reasoning.

With digital dementia on the rise, does the overuse of digital gadgets and electronic media foreshadow eminent decline of business innovation?

Even if you are not currently dealing with the digital dementia problem, you soon may be. You will find it creeping into and lowering your productivity and performance levels, causing communication and harmony issues and further segmenting multi-generational workforces.

Create a plan to either prevent or deal with the deficiencies of digital dementia so it doesn’t cripple the productivity and profitability of your business. Consider the following:

Build a team to deal with this impending digital tsunami–include a person from every level of your organization who can train associates to use digital tools in a positive way that supports the business.

Make them aware of the current research and the long-term effects of digital dementia on your organization and their personal lives–this tsunami will flood into every crevice of your organization.

Create a plan that involves all employees interacting on an in-person level–not just digital face time–so you can stimulate thinking that drives innovation.

This list just scratches the surface of some of the steps you can take today to overcome the digital dementia that is facing your business.


Source: Pat Heydlauff speaks from experience. She works with organizations that want to create an environment where employees are engaged, encouraged and involved, and with people who want to be in control, anxiety-free and confident. She is the author of the forthcoming book, Engage, How to Lead with Power, Productivity and Promise and Feng Shui, So Easy a Child Can Do It.

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August 5, 2013

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