July 1, 2015

Americans face Digital Amnesia as connected devices are increasingly trusted to recall memories

Americans face Digital Amnesia as connected devices are increasingly trusted to recall memories

Survey results showed that 91 percent of consumers can easily admit their dependency on the Internet and devices as a tool for remembering and an extension of their brain

Woburn, MA – July 1, 2015 –Kaspersky Lab today published a new study that reveals the majority of connected consumers in the United States increasingly depend on devices for recalling and storing their memories. Kaspersky Lab has termed this phenomenon Digital Amnesia: the experience of forgetting information that you trust a digital device to store and remember for you.

For the study, Kaspersky Lab surveyed 1,000 U.S. consumers aged 16 and older across the country and found evidence of Digital Amnesia across all age groups and equally among both men and women. The study has found that the ‘Google Effect,’ the impact on our memory of being able to find information online[i] has extended to include important personal information and mobile devices. Survey results showed that 91 percent of consumers can easily admit their dependency on the Internet and devices as a tool for remembering and an extension of their brain.

The findings also suggest that our inability to retain important information is due to the fact that we are handing over responsibility for remembering it to digital devices. Almost half (44%) of survey participants say that their smartphone holds almost everything they need to know or recall.

Not surprisingly, the study also found that the loss or compromise of data stored on digital devices, and smartphones in particular, would leave many users devastated. More than half of women (51%) and almost the same number of 25 to 34 year-olds (49%) would be overwhelmed by sadness since they have memories stored on their devices that they believe they might never get back. One in four women (27%) and 35% of younger respondents (16 to 24 year olds) would panic: their devices are the only place they store images and contact information.

Today, connected devices serve a crucial role in the daily lives of consumers, and yet Kaspersky Lab found that Americans are failing to adequately protect those devices with readily available IT security products.In the study, 28 percent admitted that they do not protect any of their devices with additional security. In addition, just one in three installs extra IT security on their smartphone (30.5%), one in five on a tablet (20.5%).

“Connected devices enrich our lives every day, but they have also caused the prevalence of Digital Amnesia in our country. As consumers, it is important for all of us to understand the long term implications of this effect, and why it reinforces the need for us to diligently protect our valuable information and precious memories,” said Chris Doggett, managing director of Kaspersky Lab North America. “By conducting this study, Kaspersky Lab is able to shed further light on how consumers are using and depending on their devices, and armed with this information, we will continue our mission to raise public awareness about the importance of using technology to protect our digital lives.”

“The act of forgetting is not inherently a bad thing. We are beautifully adaptive creatures and we don’t remember everything because it is not to our advantage to do so. Forgetting becomes unhelpful when it involves losing information that we need to remember,” said Dr Kathryn Mills, UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, London. “One of the reasons consumers might be less worried about remembering information is because they have connected devices that they trust. In many societies, having access to the Internet feels as stable as having access to electricity or running water.”

An in-depth report, entitled: The rise and impact of Digital Amnesia: Why we need to protect what we no longer remember, further explores the issue and can be found here: https://kasperskycontenthub.com/usa/files/2015/06/Digital-Amnesia-Report.pdf

An infographic can be found here: https://kasperskycontenthub.com/usa/files/2015/06/Digital-Amnesia-infographic.pdf   

About Kaspersky Lab

Kaspersky Lab is one of the world’s fastest-growing cybersecurity companies and the largest that is privately-owned. The company is ranked among the world’s top four vendors of security solutions for endpoint users (IDC, 2014). Since 1997 Kaspersky Lab has been an innovator in cybersecurity and provides effective digital security solutions and threat intelligence for large enterprises, SMBs and consumers. Kaspersky Lab is an international company, operating in almost 200 countries and territories across the globe, providing protection for over 400 million users worldwide.

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Media Contact
Sarah Kitsos 
781.503.2615
sarah.kitsos@kaspersky.com


[i] Google Effect on Memory: cognitive consequences of having information at our fingertips, August 2011, Professor Betsy Sparrow, University of Columbia and Professor Daniel Wegner, Harvard University, and Jenny Liu of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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