Technology becoming increasingly more vital to college students’ lives

Nicholas Kotch

As social generations progress further, so does technology and the obsession that has steadily grown along with it.

According to a 2015 study by the nonprofit group Common Sense Media, Generation Z — also called the “iGeneration,” — is spending nearly nine hours a day consuming media from a screen.

Jeffrey Child, associate professor of communication studies at Kent State, believes the amount of technology taken in depends on the individual.

“The research is actually beyond the point of asking if technology’s progression is bad or good; those are too simplistic of questions,” Child said. “It is both user characteristics and personality traits that lead us down to the people themselves.”

The national average for the human attention span in 2015 was 8.25 seconds, which is half a second less than that of a goldfish. 

“The effect that cellphones and social media have on the girls I teach at my dance studio seems troubling,” said Rachel Cowley, a marketing graduate student at the Stark campus. “They document their every move and because they are so engrossed in Snapchat, Instagram, … most of them lack good conversational skills, which is a huge issue.”

Even the act of using a cellphone during a conversation has its own terminology now called “phubbing,” a fusion of “phone” and “snubbing.”

“Technology does adapt with and change our communication behaviors, how we act, what we do and what we consider to be appropriate and inappropriate,” Child said.

However, technology is not inherently evil. Imagine trying to navigate through college without the internet, a cellphone or even social media. The advancements in technology have made schooling and many other aspects of life apparently less difficult.

“There is so much technology integrated into what we can do today,” Child said. “When I started going to college, email was still the big social connection channel and to learn material I had to make my own study cards.”

A recent survey conducted by Harris Poll found that 85 percent of students aged 18 to 26 own a laptop computer, while 67 percent said having their technology stop working is their current biggest fear.

“Technology plays a decent roll in my daily routine since I work on a computer all day and am on my iPhone quite a bit,” Cowley said. “I check all my social media throughout the day and I still use my iPod in my car, but I also can separate real life from social media.”

Nicholas Kotch is the consumer tech reporter, contact him at [email protected]