Polylogue on Digital Dementia. Texas A&M HSC College of Medicine, Round Rock, TX

March 6, 2014 @ 12:30 am – 2:00 am
Texas A&M HSC College of Medicine
3950 North A.W. Grimes Boulevard
Round Rock, TX 78665
Michael Schwartz, M.D.

Edward B Burger             Laura Ferguson              Jessica Grogan              Manfred Spitzer

Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, Round Rock is pleased to host a “polylogue” on Digital Dementia

Polylogue (more than a dialogue) on Digital Dementia

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

President Edward B Burger; President, Southwestern University, Georgetown, Texas, USA

Laura Ferguson, M.D., Assistant Dean for Faculty Affairs, Professor of Pediatrics, Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, Round Rock, Texas

Jessica Grogan, Ph.D., Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Humanities in Medicine, Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, Round Rock, Texas.

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, including televisions, computers, phones and other electronic devices”1. Pulling no punches, 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 with people, not screens.”

But is this true? Does the data support –perhaps even more than support – these conclusions? AAP has long warned against media for kids. At least as far back as 1999 calling for parents of young children to all but ban television watching for children under two and to fill out a “media history” for doctor’s office visits. Are these experts “on the mark,” or are alarmist “experts” merely fearing “the new” and “the unknown.”

This topic – a discussion of the advantages, disadvantages, risks and side effects associated with today’s digital media – will be the focus of the (3/5/14) very first “polylogue” of the Department of Humanities in Medicine at Texas A&M Health Science Center’s College of Medicine in Round Rock. (“Polylogues” are conceived of as discussions on important health-related topics about which there are conflicting credible points of view. Given discordance, what is one to do?) Is “digital dementia” to be respected, discounted, accommodated to or ignored? As parents and teachers and physicians and consumers – how are we to deal with the reality of burgeoning, omnipresent media devices and technology.

We are pleased to bring together an outstanding panel to discuss this topic.

Come and join us at Texas A&M Health Science College of Medicine in Round Rock at 3950 North A. W. Grimes Blvd in Round Rock Wednesday 3/5/14 at 6:30 pm for our Digital Dementia Polylogue. And join in!

2. Spitzer, Manfred. Digitale Demenz, Droemer, 2012 (Spanish Edition, Demencia Digital, Ediciones B, 2013)
3. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/23/technology/at-waldorf-school-in-silicon-valley-technology-can-wait.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
4. http://web.williams.edu/Mathematics/eburger/calc.html