‘Digital generation’: for the first time, children have a lower IQ than their parents

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The “Digital Cretins Factory”. This is the title of the last book by the French neuroscientist Michel Desmurget, director of research at the National Institute of Health in France, in which he presents, with concrete data and conclusively, how digital devices are seriously affecting – and for evil – the neurological development of children and young people

“There is simply no excuse for what we are doing with our children and how we are putting their future and development at risk,” warns the interview specialist to BBC News Mundo, the BBC’s Spanish news service.

The evidence is palpable: IQ testing has for some time now pointed out that new generations are less intelligent than previous ones. Desmurget accumulates a vast scientific publication and has already visited renowned research centers such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of California, in the United States.

Are today’s young people the first generation in history with a lower IQ (Intelligence Quotient) than the last?
Michel Desmurget:
Yes. IQ is measured by a standard test. However, it is not a “static” test and is frequently revised. My parents did not take the same test as me, for example, but a group of people can be subjected to an old version of the test.

And in doing so, researchers have observed in many parts of the world that IQ has increased from generation to generation. This was called the ‘Flynn effect’, in reference to the American psychologist who described this phenomenon. But recently, this trend has started to reverse in several countries. It is true that IQ is strongly affected by factors such as the health system, the school system, nutrition, etc. But if you look at countries where socioeconomic factors have been quite stable for decades, the ‘Flynn effect’ starts to diminish. In these countries, “digital natives” are the first children to have lower IQs than their parents. It is a trend that has been documented in Norway, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, France, etc.

Read more in Folha de S.Paulo

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