Study: ‘Digital amnesia’ on the rise as we outsource our memory to the web and phone

(New York Daily News)

Cell phones are destroying our brains. And now science is proving that.


A new study of 1,000 Americans reports that people cannot recite basic phone numbers anymore. Instead, they’re trusting that their handy cell phone will keep the needed information on file for them.


Software security group Kaspersky Lab found that while 70 percent of people know their partner’s phone number by memory, just 35 percent knew their kids’ numbers. And 51 percent of the time, people did not know their friends’ numbers without having to look them up.


Shockingly, more people could recite their office phone number – 45 percent – than their children’s.


But it’s not just phone numbers we’re forgetting. Half of respondents said they woud go to the Internet before trying to recall a fact.


Scholars have a name for all this: digital amnesia.


“The overall trend seems worrying to some degree,” researcher Dr. Maria Wimber, a psychology professor at the University of Birmingham in England, said in the released study. She said personal information like a phone number is “very vulnerable,” as opposed to “general knowledge that will always be retrievable from the Internet.”


In our increasingly tech-dependent society, the emotional stakes are high. Many respondents said they would become “overwhelmed by sadness” if they lost their phone. Some even said they’d go into a panic.


Sixty-seven percent of participants could remember the phone numbers they had between ages 10 and 15, suggesting that our memories were better before cell phones.


Study after study is showing we’re becoming tech wrecks and our children could be in even more trouble than we are. Kids ages 8 to 18 now spend on average 44.5 hours per week in front of screens.

How Cell Phone Use Is Destroying Your Kids’ Short-Term Memory