Can teens get dementia? Apparently they can thanks to technology -- so says a new study. Teenagers have become so reliant on technology that they can no longer remember common phone numbers or everyday information. The study took place in South Korea, one of the most heavily technology-reliant countries, but I can imagine it goes on anywhere that people use a lot of tech. The study says that teens' memory and cognitive abilities are so poor that you usually only see that type of thing in people with brain injuries. And I totally get it, because I can feel this happening to myself!
I remember those days when you'd have to struggle to remember something -- the name of an actor, the street where that restaurant is, the author of a book. So you'd sit there for awhile, your brain struggling, your mind whirring, and eventually there'd be that moment when the thing you were working so hard to remember would suddenly pop into your consciousness.
But who does that when you have Google? Now just type in "dark haired actor Spiderman" and voila! Andrew Garfield. A few weeks ago, the name of a friend escaped me. This scared me -- an actual name of a friend escaped me! Granted, I hadn't spoken to her for months, and she was never a truly close friend -- but we had spoken pretty regularly at one point, even went on a trip together. And yet I couldn't remember her name.
I knew, however, that if I did an email search on the name of the place where we took our trip, her emails would pop up, and then her name. But I resisted. I wanted to see if my noggin' was still working.
I meditated on her face, which I could (thankfully) remember. I recalled conversations. I went through the entire alphabet, thinking that if I hit the first letter of her name, the rest would come. I slept on it.
Nothing happened. Her name remained completely elusive to my grasping brain.
I finally email searched her. And found her name. Ugh, how embarrassing. My brain is Googlefried.
In our defense, gone are the days when you've got three or four good friends. Thanks to Facebook, we've got hundreds. Gone are the days when you have a few conversations running per day. Thanks to email and social media, we juggle dozens.
Phone numbers? You used to memorize maybe 10. Now our cellphone contains tons.
Life is more complex. More varied. You need to do far more multitasking. We need to get rid of some of the clutter in our brains -- by forgetting about it.
Still, it's scary when you lose your cellphone and suddenly realize you can't even call your best friend. But, hey, that's what Twitter is for!
Do you feel like technology is giving you dementia?
Image via Compujeramy/Flickr