Excessive use of mobile phones can lead to memory loss. Also, smartphone addiction could reduce the brain’s ability to retain new information and make it difficult to form memories.
It is a well known fact that that stress can cause amnesia or affect memory adversely. But it’s not only the one reason, although excessive use of mobile phones apparently can cause memory loss in humans.
Kaspersky Lab, one of the largest cyber security companies founded in Russia, surveyed approximately 6,000 mobile phone users; 71 percent of the participants can’t figure out their children’s phone numbers, and 87 percent can’t recollect the phone numbers of their children’s schools. According to some participants, losing their smartphones will cause them to forget what they’ve been up to.
The phenomenon of not remembering any fact or information without using phones is termed Digital Amnesia. It is like you are not giving your brain a chance to think and remember information that might be in your memory.
Moreover, it can be said that our brains are fast losing their memory ability as we become increasingly dependent on technology to retain data. Many factors are responsible for memory loss due to smartphone addiction. Here, we have highlighted three significant elements that can cause you memory loss while using mobile phones.
1. Multitasking with mobile phone
Multitasking with a mobile phone distracts learning in different ways. The effect of multitasking varies on various mobile phone uses, a particular task, and the type of learner.
In this case, distraction is a critical factor that makes memories more difficult to form and retain while you are learning or doing anything. When you are busy multitasking on your smartphones and quickly looking for information in different apps and notifications, you are not entirely focusing on learning a new skill or something more important than scrolling your phone.
Hence, mobile phone multitasking is widely considered a main source of distraction in academic performance. The information is not likely to get stored in long-term memory, which causes a situation of not remembering things by being not attentive to them.
2. Lack of sleep due to mobile addiction
When you use smartphones specifically at night, the blue-light-emitting technology adversely affects your body before you go to bed, and your sleep will be delayed. This, in turn, hinders your natural sleep-wake cycles. Many people are not drinking coffee before bed, but the most common is checking the phone before you sleep, which is as harmful as caffeine. Poor sleep is associated with impaired memory and the ability to retain memory, which is a matter of concern.
3. Increased screen time
Not just sleep disorders, increased screen time also reduces our memory significantly.
Do you ever found yourself staring at a computer screen and unable to remember what happened 5 minutes ago? It is due to the over-consumption of digital information, scientists say. Also, we read more but remember less because we rarely read to learn or be deeply involved in a text.
While concentrating during reading, most E-readers engage their ability to think critically and reflectively by consuming more and more words without paying proper attention; nothing can be appropriately processed by the brain then.
How do you overcome memory loss due to smartphone addiction?
When it comes to overcoming smartphone addiction, the essential step is to focus on dealing with the situation when it’s not worth depending on your smartphone as your external storage. Try to memorize the information instead.
Here are some tips to overcome digital amnesia.
1. Pause and think
When you want some information about any topic, don’t make a habit of just grabbing your phone and starting Googling things right away. Instead, you can pause and try to recall the information first, as your brain is a compelling storage device. You should take advantage of your thinking ability and make it a habit to exercise your memory muscles.
2. Simplify our digital life
Always ensure that you do not carry your mobile phone everywhere, like watching TV, having quality family time, and most importantly, into bed at night.
You can declutter apps that are not in use and leave the subscription to the newsletter you are not reading, as their timely notification may distract you mostly when you are about to sleep.
Also, you can fix a screen-free day at least once a week. On this day, try to limit the use of phones for anything else other than making or receiving calls.
3. Practice mindfulness activities
Being involved in mindfulness is the only way to keep you aware of your thoughts, actions, and surroundings. You can start practicing mindfulness through meditation which can help strengthen your memory because it empowers you to concentrate on one particular thing at a time for an extended period.
In this way, you can resist the urge to overly depend on your digital devices and find other ways to relax and rejuvenate rather than using the phone for scrolling. You can also practice writing down your thoughts and maintain a habit of journaling gratitude.
However, it’s more effective in some situations to take help from technology; in others, you’re better off using your memory. Moreover, the ultimate goal is to strike a healthy balance between using your devices and keeping your memory sharp. Technology has its place in our lives, and we can’t deny it, but you don’t want it to intrude on your mental abilities.
We can conclude that technology is just a tool, and its effectiveness largely depends on how you use it. So, you can limit the use of mobile phones and be mindful of health hazards.