Young people have become so reliant on electronic devices that some suffer from "digital dementia" giving them a limited attention span and the inability to retain simple facts, physicians in South Korea say.

"Overuse of smartphones and game devices hampers the balanced development of the brain," Dr. Byun Gi-won of the Balance Brain Centre in Seoul told the JoongAng Daily newspaper.

"Heavy users are likely to develop the left side of their brains, leaving the right side untapped or underdeveloped."
The disturbing conclusion is important coming from South Korea because it has the highest percentage of cellphone users in the world.

More than 67 percent of South Koreans have a smartphone, with more than 64 percent in teenagers owning one.

And 14 percent of young men and women 18-39 complain of having poor memory skills.

The symptoms of "digital dementia" are similar to those of people who  have suffered a head injury or psychiatric illness, with their cognitive facilities diminished.

Those diagnosed also suffer from emotional underdevelopment. (read more here)

Tags: cell, development, emotional, health, mental, phones

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Sounds like unsupported nonsense to me. No studies, no evidence, no tests, no peer review, no replications, no nothing. Sigh. 

Hmm, no link to the actual study, or the the supposed UCLA study mentioned, no information provided on cellphone users vs non-cellphone users when it comes to complaints of memory issues, no mention of any sort of control group or other controls. Doesn't sound too much like science.

This might be the UCLA study to which they were referring.

And I found this, too, when looking up this Dr. Byun Gi-won:

The fact that ‘Digital Dementia’ seems to be a condition that’s just been made-up for the purposes of the report, and no-one actually seems able to describe what it is in any precise terms doesn’t dim the enthusiasm of these news sources at all, naturally.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, a widely-circulated quote from Dr Byun Gi-won, (of the Balance Brain Centre in Seoul), goes:

“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,”

Players of Neurobollocks-bingo can put a big cross on the ‘Left/Right brain neuromyth’ section of their score-card, then.

I can’t find any further mention on the internet of a) Dr Byun Gi-Won, b) this Balance Brain centre in Seoul, or c) the actual report that these news stories are based on. I might be missing something, so if any readers do manage to track down any information related to any of those things, please let me know in the comments. In the meantime, just file this one under ‘bullshit irresponsible scaremongering, with a laughably transparent veneer of made-up neuroscience’ and move on.

Personally, I never trust anything from


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