Your Health: The impact digital devices have on your brain

Your Health: The impact digital devices have on your brain
Published: Mar. 15, 2022 at 5:25 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Take a look around the room you’re in right now.

Most of us have smart phones in our hands, within arm’s length or in our pockets. For years, researchers have made a case that smart technology may be bad for our brain power. Now, a team of researchers from the U.S. and Canada want you to know what they’ve discovered about digital devices and dumbing down.

Some scientists have theorized that scrolling quickly through multiple open apps makes us unfocused. Others have said that young people can lose cognition or brain power when machines do the work for them.

Researchers studied four dozen published reports on smart tech use.

“The arguments that they are making us dumber don’t hold up,” said Dr. Anthony Chemero, with the University of Cincinnati.

Chemero said smart technology makes us smarter.

“It’s because what it’s doing is enhancing our abilities to do smart things. It enhances our ability to do smart things by kind of offloading some of the tasks to a piece of technology,” Chemero said.

It’s technology that calculates, stores information and memorizes.

“Young people now don’t know anyone’s phone number. They might know their parents’ phone numbers. Sometimes they don’t even know their own phone number,” said Chemero. “All that memory storage that we devoted to remembering phone numbers, we can now use for something else,”

For example, learning a new language or how to cook or draw. While there are drawbacks to smartphone use -- like tech neck, sore digits and disrupted sleep patterns -- Chemero said making us dumb is not one.

He added there are consequences to using certain types of apps. For example, some social media sites have been thought to decrease teens’ self-confidence and well-being -- but again, that smart tech use is not impacting cognition.

More: Health stories

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