The ‘Google Effect’, the impact on our memory due to finding information online, has extended to include important personal information.
A study by Kaspersky Lab has found that the majority of connected consumers across Europe can’t recall critical phone numbers from memory, including those of their children (53%), children’s schools (90%), and place of work (51%).
Around a third could not remember their partner’s number, and 4 in 10 have forgotten their home phone numbers when aged 10 and 15.
Kaspersky Lab surveyed 6,000 consumers aged 16 and older in six European countries.
The findings suggest that our inability to retain important information is due to the fact that we are handing over responsibility for remembering it to digital devices such as smartphones.
Just under half (43%) of the youngest consumers surveyed (16 to 24 year-olds) say that their smartphone holds almost everything they need to know or recall.
Kaspersky Lab has termed this phenomenon Digital Amnesia: the experience of forgetting information that you trust a digital device to store.
The study also found that the loss of data stored on digital devices, smartphones in particular, would leave many users devastated.
4 in 10 women and the same number of 16 to 24 year-olds would be “overwhelmed by sadness”, since they have memories stored on their devices that they believe they might never get back.
1 in 4 of both women and younger respondents would be totally frantic: their devices are the only place they store images and contact information.