Smartphones and technology causing a rise in 'digital dementia'

High tech gadgets such as smart phones are changing the way our brains work - threatening our memory and concentration

If you find it difficult to concentrate and remember simple things you may now be able to blame modern life for ruining your brain and giving you 'digital dementia'.

New research from tech-savvy South Korea has warned that the way our brains are developing is changing thanks to the amount we now rely on technologies such as the internet and smart phones - and not for the better.Young people are increasingly struggling to remember basic things such as their phone numbers [REX]

It's so much easier to ask Google Maps where you are than to look at street signs, or split the bill using an app rather than calculate the cost of your meal in your head.

And when was the last time you bothered trying to remember what other movie that obscure bit part actor in Breaking Bad was in when there's IMDB for that?

When questions to friends are now more often than not answered by 'why don't you search it?' it's starting to feel lazier not to consult our smart phone. But this reluctance to think may be worse for us than we'd previously thought.

Our brains, and particularly those of young people and children, are changing in a rather concerning way as the amount we use the right and the left side becomes unbalanced.Children's brains are developing differently thanks to tablets, phones and internet [REX]

Researcher Byun Gi-won, a doctor at the Balance Brain Centre in Seoul, told local news: "Over-use of smartphones and game devices hampers the balanced development of the brain.

"Heavy users are likely to develop the left side of their brains, leaving the right side untapped or underdeveloped."

The neglected right side controls our concentration and memory and so its underdevelopment can cause major difficulties throughout life and may even contribute to early-onset dementia as we get older.

Emotional underdevelopment is also a problem, especially for children, whose brains are still developing.

It follows research in the US that suggested our memories are also being eroded by too much stress and multitasking - overall giving us the feeling that perhaps life was better when we lived in screen-free caves.

But it might have been a bit boring without Twitter.Could the technology we love threaten our memory? [REX]

Leon Edwards, the Group Managing Director at Versapak developed its new product Banish Bags as a lighthearted way to tackle gadget-addiction, admitting that it can take over our lives.

He said: "Whilst worrying, the suggestion of 'digital dementia' amongst youngsters in South Korea isn't really all that surprising. We coined the idea of the Banish Bag after noticing an over reliance on technology in all our everyday lives.

"From a personal perspective, I was finding myself constantly switched on and struggling to put work related activity to one side when permanently plugged in to work via emails and other correspondence. This was something that was frustrating for those around me too!"

He added:"Whilst I think it's important that young people are open to technology and that hiding them away from it isn't conducive to progress, I do think it's important that they take a step back from it and spend time developing in a normal, traditional way.

"We felt that the Banish Bag was something that could be used to assist those who might struggle with willpower from time to time."Put your phone away, it will help you concentrate [REX]

Very little is known about how the brain works and why memory starts to fail and in fact there is little evidence that 'brain training' really works. However, we know that socialising (in real life) and using your brain is important to keep it sharp.

So perhaps it wouldn't do us any harm to put away our smartphones for a few hours a day and try for a little longer to work out which '90s TV show that guy was in.