Digital dementia is a short-term memory dysfunction that affects both adults and kids as young as elementary school-aged. It’s a rising problem born out of our growing reliance on technology. It is a real concern as technology stores much of what should be kept in our long-term memory.
It’s Not Like Regular Dementia
Digital dementia refers to a child who never develops their long-term memory or adults who use their long-term memory far less than they used to. For example, if you were born before cell phones you likely memorized the landline phone numbers of almost everyone you knew. Now, kids and adults store contact information on their smartphones and most of us don’t know the phone numbers of those we dial most.
Convenience Must Not Replace Memory
It is convenient to keep your schedule in your phone and set up reminders so that you don’t forget. Or to quickly Google anything you need to know, most of which you won’t retain. Where we run into trouble is when without technology we cannot function. For example, could you go without your phone for a day? A weekend? A week?
While we will continue to rely more on technology not less, we must prioritize utilizing our long-term memory. How we do this has a lot to do with how we spend our unplugged time. This means you must first have designated unplugged time, which is best spent engaging in creative activities, physical activity, and learning and recall without the use of technology.