Digital Dangers: Brains being dumbed down by smartphones

The Yik Yak app, lower, left, is seen on an iPhone in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015. Internet users of the Yik Yak social media gossip app popular among college students aren't nearly as anonymous as they believe: Missouri police within hours arrested a student accused of threatening violence, the latest in a string of such arrests at colleges in recent months involving threats posted online. (AP Photo/Ronald Lizik)
(AP Photo/Ronald Lizik)

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) – Are smart devices making us dumber?

It’s a fair question to ask when you see a friend use the Calculator app to do basic math, or asking Siri how to spell a word, or to Google how many ounces there are in a gallon.

As a society, we’re undoubtedly becoming more dependent on technology with every passing day.

And it’s changing our children.

“Parents love it because their kids are quiet. Parents love it for the same reason they love sesame street. It’s a babysitter,” says neurosurgeon Shawn Clark in Mobile.

Clark says technological dependence is altering our behavior more than we realize. While it’s not exactly clear how prolonged device usage is affecting our brain function, Clark says just look around and you’ll see how addicted we’ve become.

“I’ll walk into Cracker Barrel and see a family of four all with their heads down,” Clark says. “They can’t stop staring at these phones.”

Clark says phones are tablets aren’t just leading to over-dependence and addiction, but it’s leading to behavioral distortion.  Adults aren’t affected as much because their social aptitude is already developed, but for kids, the impact could be frighteningly dramatic.

“It would be a shame if we raised an entire generation of children that didn’t know how to talk to each other.”

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