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Geschwill & Nieswandt

Digital dementia

Manfred Spitzer, 2012

Digital dementia: How we drive ourselves and our children crazy by Manfred Spitzer, Droemer, 2012.
Digital paranoia: staying online without losing your mind by Jan Kalbitzer, C.H.Beck, 2016.
Two psychiatrists, two books - but completely different results. Jan Kalbitzer, 39, is a psychiatrist. Manfred Spitzer, 59, is a successful author. Writing books today still works best when you sharpen theses - and that's what Spitzer does. He believes that using IT too early in life leads to addictive behavior in children. Kalbitzer proves the opposite, or rather he explains that there is no addiction diagnosis for IT in psychodiagnostics at all. The "long-distance duel" was brought to a head by Manfred Spitzer's completely out of character appearance on the program "Anne Will" in October 2016. Sascha Lobo, blogger and book author, provoked the psychiatrist, who couldn't take it. Other opinions seem to emotionally challenge the former Ulm professor. The Focus describes it like this: "Presenter Anne Will has trouble keeping the angry scientist Spitzer in check. He completely loses his composure. He talks about 'poor children' and that young people should not be introduced to digital media until they are 14 or 16. Programming from the eighth grade at the earliest. He already sees many "soulless, will-less people," screwed up by smartphones and tablets. Sascha Lobo and and FDP chairman Lindner try to contradict. In vain. 'You haven't got a clue!' the psychiatrist continues to talk himself into a spin. Anne Will tries: 'Mr. Spitzer? Mr. Spitzer! Can you hear me?" Jan Kalbitzer is right when he accuses Spitzer of dishonesty. He cannot make psychiatric diagnoses about an entire generation in such broadcasts. And that's not the only place where he lacks distance. He does a disservice to serious colleagues. The book is also very weak in terms of content and is refuted in large parts. In the Netherlands, there have been several Steve Jobs elementary schools for years that have been teaching very successfully with iPads as early as the first grade. Disruptions among the children? No way! The learning successes are better than those in traditional elementary school teaching.' The fact that the Google founders keep their children away from IT until the age of 14 has more to do with the fact that they are fans of Montessori schools - and accordingly focus on creative learning rather than factual learning. We are pleased that Mr. Kalbitzer calls out to Mr. Spitzer: "Learning development continues".