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Event Details

Digital Dementia

Monday, March 03, 2014 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Alkek Library Teaching Theater

Dr. Manfred Spitzer, Department of Psychiatry, University of Ulm and the Transfer Center for Neurosciences and Learning (ZNL) in Ulm, Germany

Many of us view the internet as a gift replete with intellectual vitamins. And, our kids love to be on line: A 2013 report by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) documents critically that “Today’s children are spending an average of seven hours a day on entertainment media.” The AAP goes on to recommend that “parents establish ‘screen-free’ zones at home by making sure there are no televisions, computers or video games in children’s bedrooms and by turning off the TV during dinner. Children and teens should engage with entertainment media for no more than one or two hours per day, and that should be high-quality content. It is important for kids to spend time on outdoor play, reading, hobbies, and using their imaginations in free play.” Furthermore, “Television and other entertainment media should be avoided for infants and children under age two. A child’s brain develops rapidly during these first years and young children learn best by interacting w ith people, not screens.”

A clarification of the risks and side effects associated with today’s digital media will be the focus of Manfred Spitzer’s presentation. Dr. Spitzer of the Psychiatric University Hospital and the Transfer Center for Neurosciences and Learning (ZNL) in Ulm, Germany, is an international authority of the subject of digital media (cell phones, tablets, computers, television) and their effect on a child’s developing brain. A psychiatrist, psychologist and neuroscientist, he is the author of “Digital Dementia: What We and Our Children are Doing to our Minds.” As described in his book, and from his vantage and his research, Spitzer will present a body of evidence that shows too much time with these devices leads to problematic brain development in young children that is irreversible. Spitzer is widely published in neuroscience, learning, and psychiatry, author of numerous texts, and a well-regarded speaker (in English as well as German). He is host of the German public television show “Geist und Gehirn” (“Mind and Brain” – available on YouTube). Additionally, Dr. Spitzer is recipient of the 1992 DGPPN Duphar Research Award of the German Society for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Neurology; the 2002 Cogito Prize of the Cogito Foundation; and the 2010 Science Prize of the Margrit Egnér Foundation.

Joe Meyer
Common Experience
Health, Lectures
Faculty, General Interest, Staff, Undergraduate Students
Digital Dementia