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Is your smartphone making you forgetful?

I’m attached to my iPhone 24/7. Not just for work, though that is huge part of it, but also for all of my personal social networking, professional development, coordinating volunteer work, and even prayer. Is the amount of time I spend on this device healthy?

Probably not entirely. Even my eye doctor told me I need to cut back on screen time to resolve some of my vision problems. But if I’m being honest, I’m not rushing off to dramatically reduce how much time I spend on my devices in the immediate future so I need to figure out how to use them as wisely as possible.

One thing that has really struck me since I blew past year 2 of using a smartphone in mid-2009 is that my short term memory is deteriorating rapidly. I have no reason to remember appointments, tasks, directions, or even anything I can easily research using Google. I store all of that data in my phone. If you ask me for details about a project or meeting while my phone or iPad is in another room, I don’t have much to offer.

Spending too much time on a device is something I can stomach, but changing the way my brain works because of it – that bothers me. An article was recently released on CIO Insight Blogs that suggests smartphones may be causing so many distractions that they prevent the user from spending the time to engage in deep, creative thinking.

Let me say, I know this problem is not the iPhone’s fault. That would be like blaming a pencil for poor penmanship. The phone is a tool; the way I’m depending on it is the problem. It has gotten so bad, that if people ask me to remind them of something, I refuse unless I have my phone or iPad close by so I can set a reminder. Maybe this is just because I’m busier than ever so I have more to remember. And because I’m older. But those are excuses, not a solution.

In an effort to overcome this and re-teach myself how to remember things, I started reading Memorize the Faith! (and Most Anything Else): Using the Methods of the Great Catholic Medieval Memory Masters by Kevin Vost. I’m only a few chapters in, but already I’ve noticed great improvements in my ability to remember details when I purposefully commit them to memory.

Have you noticed the way you depend on your smartphone or tablet has hurt your ability to remember things?

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