Digital use changes human behaviour with people using smartphones as extensions of their memories

Europeans are using their smartphones as extensions of their memories, with 79% of people more reliant on their digital devices today than they were five years ago.

Newly published research has found that 49% of people under the age of 35 and 35% of people over 35 worry about their reliance on their phones.

Approximately 43% said they scan information they receive on their digital device as soon as it comes in, returning to it later.

Kaspersky Lab, a cyber- security firm in the UK, carried out the study, surveying 6,000 people between the ages of 16 and 65 in six European countries.

The study set out to explore the impact the digital revolution was having on how we process information.

It found our over-reliance on digital devices is triggering an adaptation in human behaviour.

Some 63% of respondents believe their smartphones and tablets allow them to achieve more because storing information digitally frees up their brain to focus on other tasks.

The level of trust that people have in their phones and tablets is reflected in the finding that four out of five people surveyed said they prefer not to use their device, as opposed to their brain, to store information.

Some 53% of those surveyed use the notes function on their phone to record and store information they will need to save for a later date.

A significant amount of people also use their phones as a way to jog their memory, with 30% of respondents either emailing or texting themselves with reminders.

Another 32% said they use an online calendar to add information to instead of relying on a traditional diary.

In relation to deleting information, 18% of respondents said they do not delete any information they receive via their device, and 25% only delete things when their phone or tablet alerts them to do so.

In terms of securing the information we store on our phones and tablets, 58% of those surveyed said they use no anti-virus software whatsoever.

A security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, David Emm, argues that our reliance on information is allowing us more space to learn.

“Rather than being seen as a step into the unknown or something potentially negative, this increased reliance on technology means that people can, in fact, learn, remember, think, and create more effectively,” he said.

“By offloading responsibility for remembering certain information to their devices, people can free their brains to deal with more important tasks and cope better with the sheer volume of data and information pushed our way.”

Dr Paul Marsden, a research psychologist at London College of Fashion, said we are now using our memory power in a different manner because of the digital revolution.

“In our digitalised lives we use our memory differently. We seem to be remembering less information, but remembering more about how to find information,” said Dr Marsden.


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