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How often have you been questioned on a simple general knowledge topic and failed to remember the answer, opting to look it up online instead?

Because of smartphones, many people no longer worry about remembering significant dates, phone numbers, memorable birthdays, or anniversaries because they can easily be found online.

Digital amnesia, often known as the “Google Effect,” is the sensation of forgetting information that you can rely on a digital gadget to save and remember for you. It was introduced as a part of a study by the cyber security company Kaspersky.

The study demonstrates the extent to which people’s reliance on technology can impact their daily lives. The study questioned over 6,000 people in Europe and found a link between the ease with which information is accessible and the inability to commit that information to memory.

The research showed that people were storing even the tiniest details on their gadgets, such as their partner’s phone number, acting as digital brains. 34% of respondents acknowledged that they relied heavily on their phones for memory. 79% of respondents stated they were more dependent on their smartphones for information now than they were a few years ago, and 32% claimed that they were utilizing them as an extension of their brain.

This same study was done in India, where the figures were even greater. 50% of participants acknowledged using their smartphones as a brain extension. Furthermore, 50% of Indians preferred to recollect the source of information than recall specific facts. People between the ages of 40 and 50 have recently reported memory loss and increased forgetfulness, which has led to mild cognitive impairment.

Our brains are being seriously damaged by our abuse of smartphones. Although it may appear that we have easy access to everything, the Internet is depriving us of our social and creative abilities. When we are using our smartphones to multitask, we are only partially engaged in acquiring a new skill. It’s improbable that the information will be retained in our long-term memory. The ability of our brain to focus is also declining as a result of Internet distraction.

According to McGill University’s Oliver Hardt, your memory will start to deteriorate once you stop utilizing it, which will push you to utilize your gadgets even more.

They serve every purpose for us. When you visit a recipe website and click a button, the ingredient list is sent to your smartphone. Although highly convenient, convenience comes at a cost. There are some things you should do in your head.

Everything depends on the digital world, including shopping, calculations, banking, entertainment, and even travel. As a result, we are spending more time on screens and rely more on digital storage than memory these days. According to experts, many of us are currently experiencing digital amnesia.

Our brains are being impacted by the digital revolution in two significant ways. First, a significant portion of our memories is now outsourced to smart devices. We no longer need to recall things like dates or appointments because our devices store that information and alert us when an occasion is approaching. This makes it harder for our brains to remember and process specific information. Instead, we are occupied with completing social media quizzes and investing our time in useless activities.

The second factor is the frequent interruptions we experience. These days, we find it difficult to concentrate on one task for an extended period of time. For instance, the continuous notifications of today’s students force them to be interrupted while studying multiple times. Social media notifications are constantly interrupting our daily routines. We feel the impulse to check our cell phones at least once if they even make a beeping noise. Once we check it, we become involved in conversations, videos, or posts and lose concentration on what we were initially doing.

A study from 2018 emphasizes the significance of social media’s impact on sleep patterns. The study discovered that adolescents had more difficulty going to sleep and slept less during the night because of their smartphones. The increased incidence of insomnia and depression symptoms was later connected to these sleep problems.

Continuous usage of smartphones also affects our sleep cycle. Deep sleep is required to detoxify our brains. Only then does the brain engage in synapse formation, which is the process of making a place for new information by trimming old information. When our sleep is disrupted, neural development cannot occur, reducing our ability to retain new information and develop new memories.

We are losing our ability to retain knowledge because we can’t focus on doing productive work and because we can’t digest new information. The overuse of digital devices is responsible for this. The Internet may be a terrific resource and information source. However, it is also necessary to process and develop such resources using the productive power of the brain.

According to the minimal research currently available, digital amnesia has more disadvantages than advantages. Given the lack of secure procedures to maintain digitally stored information and the rising issue of behavioral addiction, it is vital to realize the hazards of the emerging phenomenon of digital amnesia.

Fahim Al Samad is an independent researcher currently living in Chittagong. He completed his Bachelor and Master's in Broadcast and Print Journalism from Port City International University. His research areas include social media, culture, media and communication, health communication, and digital media.