Digital Dementia

Write: 2007-06-07

In a recent survey on 2,030 office workers conducted by the online job portal site, Incruit, and research firm, Embrain, some 63% (1,281 respondents) said they suffer from forgetfulness. When asked about the reason for their forgetfulness, 261 people (20.4%) cited their growing dependence on mobile phones, PCs, and other digital devices.


Forgetfulness

Forgetfulness is the tendency to forget. It is a kind of unawareness caused by neglectful or heedless failure to remember. There is no medicine for forgetfulness, and the exact cause should be analyzed before treatment. Repeated practices of remembering are important to prevent forgetfulness. In a sense, forgetfulness is a natural phenomenon to escape of unbearable psychological pain or uneasiness. If the cause is discovered and resolved, it will be a great help in recovering from forgetfulness.


Forgetfulness and Dementia

Forgetfulness is similar to the early stages of dementia. Dementia is the progressive decline in cognitive function due to damage or disease in the brain beyond what might be expected from normal aging. If one recognizes their own memory declining, it’s probably forgetfulness. If not, it’s probably dementia. However, forgetfulness does not lead to dementia.


Digital Dementia or Alzheimer’s

Digital dementia refers to a kind of forgetfulness suffered by urban or professional workers due to the flood of information that assaults them in the office and their growing dependency on digital devices. The main cause of digital dementia might be excessive use of digital devices. Dementia and Alzheimer’s are diseases caused by damage in the brain, but “digital dementia” is not a disease and instead a kind of symptom caused by social phenomena.

Types of digital dementia
ㆍNot remembering names, phone numbers, numbers, etc. at critical moments
ㆍNot remembering one’s own home phone number, ID number, account number, passwords, etc.
ㆍNot remembering what one had for lunch.


“Well-Thinking”

It is said we are now in the era of “well-thinking,” a step beyond the era of “well-being.” Your wellbeing habits will become meaningless if you cannot remember what you ate, no matter how healthy it was. Digital dementia means a person’s memory or ability to calculate decreases because he or she relies too much on digital tools such as cell phones. The symptom is also often called technology amnesia. The dementia-like state can be interpreted with the “use and disuse theory.” People these days do not need to remember lots of information because cell phones and PDAs remember phone numbers instead of the users, computers save documents, navigation devices tell people the way to destinations, and karaoke machines show them the lyrics to songs. What people do is just press buttons to get to information saved in the digital devices. To prevent digital dementia and live the life of “well-thinking,” one should keep a bit of a distance from digital devices and live in a little more old-fashioned manner. Does that mean that analog will prevent digital dementia?

Ways of preventing digital dementia
1. Remember that your memory, if not used, will decline
2. Try to remember as many phone numbers, names, poems, phrases, etc. as possible
3. Reduce dependency your on digital devices
4. Spend more time reading and watching movies and then discuss them with other people

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