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Could technology be causing short term memory loss?

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TYLER (KYTX) - A brain researcher in South Korea says he's found evidence of short term memory loss in young kids who over-use technology, calling it "digital dementia."  Local child behavior specialists agree the two could be connected.

 

 

7-year-old Ava Penkilo was born with developmental issues. She spends every day working to reach the level her peers are at, but her mom, Monica Penkilo, worries technology could worsen those issues.

"We're seeing studies that are showing that too much TV, too much media time really could affect their ability to learn, and what's even going on in their bodies and brains," Penkilo says.

"At least half of our young children ages 5 and under spend 8 hours a day on technology," says Champions for Children Executive Director MaryAnn Girard.

Girard agrees that technology can cause the brain to develop unevenly, causing problems like short term memory loss.

"If we have a machine that's doing everything for us, then we don't need to remember anything," she says. "So it's no unusual for me to have children that can spell words the night before at home but go to school the next day and fail the test."

Girard is also seeing a shrinking attention span in children.

"There's been research for years suggesting that television and computers do actually promote ADD and ADHD," she says.

"You just kind of wonder, how is that going to change the future?" Penkilo asks. "What kind of people are we going to be? Will we be able to socialize and interact with people? And how will that affect our academics, being able to work and carry out a job?"

Penkilo says the answer lies with parents like herself.

"We can only move forward," she says. "What I usually say to moms is, 'Start with where you are and if you realize, okay maybe we've done too much TV. Maybe we've done too much of whatever these things are.' Don't kick yourself. There's always tomorrow to start better!"

Girard's suggestion is to only allow your kids to use technology for about 2 hours a day, in 30 minute increments.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children under two do not use any technology because their brains are not developed enough to handle it.

If you're interested in programs that help improve your child's memory or learning ability, visit these sites:

Champions for Children:

Brain Gym:

Learning RX: 


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