Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Korean digital dementia... stop reading this and go do something!

Expat English teachers spend a lot of free time behind their computers. Believe me, I speak from experience. But lately in Korea there's been some research into a  strange phenomenon: "a deterioration in cognitive abilities that is more commonly seen in people who have suffered a head injury or psychiatric illness"1 brought on by the overuse of computers and other digital devices.

Digital dementia. It's a growing problem in Korea. According to Dr.Byun Gi-won at the Seoul Balance Brain Centre, the overuse of game devices and smartphones actually hampers the development of a balanced brain.

We here at GPWT care about our loyal readers, so we've come up with a few suggestions for things you can do in Korea rather than.. well, you know, what you're doing right now. Photos by Anjee DiSanto.

Big exercise


South Korea is known for marathons, half-marathonshiking and cycling. I remember I was in a small temple outside of Jeonju once for a stay. There was a book on the shelf about a group of foreigners who hiked the Baekdudaegan mountain range. A group of three started at Jirisan, far to the south, and made their way just past the border. NOT that I would recommend that final peak, but wow.


Art galleries and temples


Art in South Korea, whether contemporary or traditional, is ubiquitous and inspiring. Check out some art galleries in Seoul, or visit an artists' residence, like Ullimsambang on Jindo Island.

Also, you can do a temple stay. Register, show up, wear a new set of comfortable clothes and pray. Around here, the form of Buddhism is called the Jogye order. 

FOOD!


Awww man... these eating dates will be the death of me. Whether your taste is for samgyeopsal, galbi, or any of the myriad options for soup and rice you find in this country, there's always a new flavor waiting. 
There's more to Korea than glowing screens, that's for sure. Looks like a nice day outside. Stop reading this, go out and have fun... and leave the smartphone at home, doctor's orders!



1. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/southkorea/10138403/Surge-in-digital-dementia.html
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