Professor Manfred Spitzer, who is a German psychiatrist, psychologist and neuroscientist joins this programme. Professor Spitzer is the Medical Director of the Psychiatric University Hospital in Ulm, Germany, and founder of the Transfer Center for Neurosciences and Learning (ZNL).
Professor Spitzer basically said that adults are probably not hurt by smartphones too much. But it is a different story for young children and adolescents who simply have to use their brain in order to develop it. “If they don’t they are really in big trouble.”
“Many people think of the brain as a kind of computer, and a computer has a CPU, a central processing unit that processes information and a hard drive. That is the memory basically. Many people say: ‘Wow, isn't it great that we can now outsource stuff into the cloud or onto a hard drive so that can use our brain for other things, so that we don’t have to do this or that?’ Well, this is complete nonsense. Simply because the brain does not consist of a hard drive and a CPU. It consists of hundreds of billions of neurons, and they have about 10,000 connections each, which makes 1 million billion connections. These connections change whenever they are used. Just to give you an example, if you learn 5 languages, your language centres get much better training, the more languages you know, the easier it is to learn new ones…. The same thing with reading, with playing instruments, no matter what. So if you outsource anything that doesn’t increase capacity, it decreases capacity to learn something new.”
“There was a study done by economists in London, They looked at data from 90 schools in the greater London Area. They introduced a smartphone ban between 2002 and 2012 and they looked at the grades of more than 130,000 schoolchildren, and they could clearly see that the year that the ban was introduced, their grades got better, and they continued to get better year after year… the kids whose results improved the most were those who used smartphones the most,…and they were from the poorest backgrounds. Those who are hurt most are those from the lowest economic strata of society…”
But it is increasingly difficult to survive now without smartphones — look at the way we use them for tickets for buses and planes, soon chips will be implanted into our brains, the host, John Harrison asked.
“We should be very wary of this new technology. Kids should not be forced to use digital technology at all. Particularly when they are 12 or 13 or 14. Technology is also very dangerous for children’s social life. If you outsource your social life to facebook, well, adults can do that, but when you are 6 years old, you don’t develop the skills that you need to interact with real people. That has been shown. The more screen time you have, the less empathy you have for your parents and your peers. That was the result of a big study. As we are a social species, we will have more and more stressful lives, and this will add to the risk of getting dementia.”
“Smartphones in the end, they kill.”
“Parents should know about this. Don’t buy the stuff.”