How is IQ measured from one generation to the next? It’s a standard test. It’s not fixed as it will update over time. But the same thing is used in many places to compare different generations. On average, there was always an increase in the coefficient. Until now. We are facing the first generation with a lower IQ than the previous one. And digital devices have a lot to do with it.
Screens and their consequences
“The digital cretin factory.” This is the title of the latest book by the neuroscientist Michel Desmurget (Lyon, 1965). He is Research Director at the French National Health Institute. Explain how digital devices affect neural development in children and adolescents.
“There’s just no excuse for what we do to our children,” he warns. His book has become a gigantic bestseller in France.
“The IQ increased from generation to generation. This has been known as the “Flynn Effect”. It is a reference to the American psychologist who described this phenomenon. Recently, this trend began to reverse in several countries. The “digital natives” are the first children to have a lower IQ than their parents. This trend has been documented in Norway, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, France, etc. “
There has to be enough time in front of the screens. Several studies show that watching TV or video games affects cognitive development. Language, concentration, and memory are affected. Ultimately, these effects lead to a significant decline in academic performance.
Beyond the screen
The effect is wide. Screen abuse can affect the quality of family interactions. These strengthen language and emotional development. They also make time for other enriching activities (homework, music, art, reading). It encourages sleep interruptions, intellectual underestimation, and an excessively sedentary lifestyle.
The brain is not a “stable” organ. Its “final” properties depend on experience. The world we live in, the challenges we face, change both structure and the way it works. Some regions of the brain are specialized, some networks are created and strengthened. Others get lost, some get fatter and some thinner.
The time spent in front of a screen for recreation delays the anatomical and functional maturation of the brain.
The potential for brain plasticity is extreme in childhood and adolescence. Then it starts to fade. It doesn’t go away, but it becomes a lot less efficient. The brain can be compared to a plasticine. To begin with, it’s wet and easy to shape. But over time it gets drier and a lot harder to shape. The problem with recreational screens is that they alter the development of our children’s brains and impoverish it.
Not that technology should be avoided. Well used, it brings young people today information that can be very useful for their development. But the most impoverished recreational uses almost always predominate.
question of time
On average, 2-year-olds spend almost three hours a day on screens. And more than seven hours for teenagers. At the age of 18, our children spent the equivalent of 30 school years in front of recreational monitors.
Desmurget recommends telling children that recreational screens damage the brain, interfere with sleep and interfere with language acquisition. This makes it easier for them to take precautionary measures.
The first generation with a lower IQ than the previous one is a red flag. Let’s not look away. The problem could be ahead of us. Even now on the screen you are looking at.