Everyday before school, students load up their backpack with notebooks, folders, planner, pens, pencils and, of course, students cannot forget their cellphones.
The question of whether or not college students are addicted to their cellphones and technology is one that many people ponder. I think that a technology addiction is a problem situationally, but this kind of addiction isn’t something that hasn’t been seen before.
According to a study done by S. McCallister in 2011, 60 percent of college students admit to being addicted to their cellphones and are irritated when their cellphone is not in sight. Here at Keene State, it is very evident lots of students have this same feeling. Despite professors asking students to put their phones away, students still text under their desk or take a peek at their phone in their backpack. The temptations of social media, emails, apps and texts are simply too much to resist.
In another study called, “The invisible addiction: Cell-phone activities and addiction among male and female college students,” conducted by James Roberts, found that respondents spent an average of 94.6 minutes a day texting, 48.5 minutes sending emails, 38.6 minutes checking Facebook and 34.4 minutes surfing the web.
While I do think these numbers are concerning, I do not think this addiction is different from other technology addictions in the past.
For example, when television and radio first emerged, people from all around the world were tuning in to watch and listen to this new form of technology.
Similarly in today’s era, the internet, social media and texting are just a few examples of modern forms of technology, and I think it is completely normal that we are seeing addiction.
From my perspective, I view this “addiction” as adaptation to new technology, as we once did with television and radio. However, I do agree with the fact that the usage of cellphones situationally can cause issues inside the classrooms for both students and teachers.
Roberts said in his study, “An addiction to one’s cell-phone can undermine academic performance as students use their cell-phones to ‘remove’ themselves from classroom activities, cheat, and to disrupt their studies.” This is where I think the use of cellphones becomes an issue.
While it is okay to check a quick text, we all know the social bubble that lays within our phone can be a huge distraction in class. It is not possible to scroll through Instagram and completely take in the material being taught in class.
An addiction to a cellphone can also cause social issues.
“Pretending to take a call, send a text, or check one’s phone to avoid an awkward social situation, for instance, is a common negative reinforcing behavior practiced by cell-phone users,” said Roberts.
I think this kind of behavior is detrimental to human nature, as we are using phones to avoid conquering these “awkward” situations. The only way to learn from those situations is to tackle them face-on, not screen-on.
Texting and driving is another danger that addiction can lead to. “Ultimately, the cell-phone user reaches a ‘tipping point’ where he/she can no longer control their cell-phone use or the negative consequences from its over-use,” said Roberts. This is where a cellphone addiction can become dangerous.
Recently, the launch of iOS 11 includes a new Do Not Disturb while driving feature. When activated, it sends an automated response to texts to inform the person on the other line you are driving.
I think this is a step in the right direction for this issue, as companies like Apple know there are dangers with cellphone use while driving and are trying to come up with a solution.
Cellphone and technology use has become an essential part of our lives, and whether this is a good or bad thing is left up to the user. I think as long as students can learn to control their cellphone and technology use situationally, that this addiction is not a major issue. Learning to become adapted and not addicted is a skill we need to master as a society to ensure the uses of technology and cell phones are being used for the good and not the bad.
Isabella Harris can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org