I ran a quiz recently which was organised as an event to mark a campaign called Digital Amnesia, based on research suggesting that the more people have used their phones etc the less they are actually storing in their brains.
The participants were asked to hand over their phones at the start, which some were even willing to do! Now, the nature of a pub quiz is that it is still a place where phones are a no-go area, so I said at the start I hoped scores wouldn’t be significantly lower than usual, or I’d realise people had been cheating at my quizzes for the last 10 years. Thankfully, scores were fine!
Most people who go to quizzes know that cheating defeats the whole purpose. I say most people …
… some people, both at this quiz and others, do find it harder and harder to be away from their phone for a minute.
I’m not one to talk – resistant as I was to technology when I was young (no email till 20, typed university essays, no mobile phone till 25) I succumbed wholeheartedly, and now barely can contain myself from regular, meaningless checks of, primarily, sports news (as if there are actually fascinating things happening within the world of sport every 10 minutes … omg, it’s still 0-0 between Brentford and Rotherham, this is life-altering! etc).
So do I agree with the hypothesis? Do I remember less now? Well, I certainly remember fewer phone numbers, they’re the first to go, of course. Apart from that, I suppose I’m not a fair example, as my very existence involves constantly looking up information online, and then processing. A lot goes in and no doubt a fair bit is forgotten, but most of it is turned into something useful.
Perhaps quizzes and quizzing are so popular because they remain a refuge from the digital world. Both we at QuizQuizQuiz and clients often consider ways to incorporate technology in quizzes, and we have always done it, in various ways, throughout our quizzes.
But we also still think the best quiz almost always involves no phones, no internet, no texting, no downloading, just good questions, good atmosphere, paper, pens, teamwork and brain work – maybe parts of the brain that haven’t been used much for a while …