The study is believed to be the first to explore the impact of excessive internet and mobile phone use on cognitive failures.
The researchers found that excessive internet use draws resources away from mental functions that are essential for completing simple day-to-day tasks.
Lee Hadlington, of the health and life sciences faculty of De Montfort University, in Leicester, tested cognitive failure in people using smartphones.
The research involved 107 men and 103 women aged between 18 and 65, and who each spent an average of nearly 23 hours online every week. The study participants reported whether they found it difficult to focus, suffered memory loss or regularly bumped into things.
"With the growing culture of bring-your-own device to work, the propensity for distraction from primary tasks towards the communicative, entertainment and social networking elements offered by such devices is still unknown," said Hadlington.
"If a clear link can be demonstrated to exist between levels of engagement with digital media and daily lapses in attention it is possible that suitable preventative measures could be taken to ensure that such errors are negated or limited," Hadlington said.
The study is published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior.


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