Digital Amnesia

Forgetting phone numbers? Maybe you’re one of the many people with digital amnesia.

‘Digital Amnesia’ is a term coined by the international software security group Kaspersky Lab to refer to describe ‘the experience of forgetting information that you trust a digital device to store and remember for you.’ Kaspersky commissioned a survey of 6000 consumers aged 16 to 55 in a number of European countries: the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg.

The purpose of the study was to see how digital devices affect memory and whether people are protecting the devices that store their memories.

The study found that most people stored contact numbers, not in their memory, but in their digital devices. Most recalled the phone number of the home they lived in at age ten. But the majority did not recall the phone numbers of their children, their workplace or their children’s schools.

Not only do people commit contact details to their devices, but also other important personal information such as photos, many of which are not stored elsewhere. Needless to say, losing these devices would cause ‘immense distress’ to many of those surveyed. Despite the importance of the information committed to their devices, consumers are not protecting them with IT security, the study found.

Finally, people are using internet to find information in preference to memories, libraries or books. A quarter or those surveyed said they would forget an online fact once they

had used it rather than commit it to memory. ‘The Rise and Impact of Digital Amnesia’, Kaspersky Lab, June 2015,