Word Watch: digital dementia

ctty2Canadian WordSpy Paul McFedries has noted “digital dementia” as another medically-related term that has established itself in the lexicon.

He defines it as “impaired memory and cognitive functioning due to the extended use of digital devices.”

McFedries cites two uses of it this week — on in the Seattle Times and another in the Edinburgh Evening News — and gives the earliest usage to the Korean newspaper The Chosun Ilbo in 2005.

But he says the phrase appeared as early as 1962 in another context. Look up the story “All-Number Dialling” by Larry M. Agranove in the Globe and Mail from 2 August that year, and you will read:

“Perhaps if the telephone company realized that its subscribers are not all intelligent enough to have a 13-digit memory span, but are astute enough to recognize needless imposition when they see it, Bell might halt this digital dementia before it is irrevocably committed to it.”~TM

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