When the parents of today’s college students were on campus, computers were considered futuristic and people put coins into public pay phones when they had to make a call while they were away from their dorms.
Today’s teenagers can barely remember life without cell phones, but smart phones with touch screens, cameras and Internet capability seem to have taken over, especially among college students.
A study by the Institute for Mobile Media Research at Ball State University has found that smart phone ownership has more than doubled over the past three years. A Ball State campus news article quotes advertising professor and researcher Michael Hanley as explaining that “Smart phones have completely transformed the daily lives of college students. This group simply doesn’t sit around in their residence halls or apartments. They like to get out and do things. And smart phones have applications that allow them to stay connected with their peers by posting on social media sites or texting their friends.”
According to the study, 91% of smart phone owners utilize social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter from their phones, which is one of the main reasons iPhones, Androids, BlackBerrys and the like are so popular among the college crowd. The study also found that the majority of smartphone users send and receive text messages, instant messages and email.
Ironically, about two-thirds of smart phone users rely on their parents to foot the bill, which can be as high as $100 a month once the voice line, data plan and texting plans are combined. Some students who are responsible for their own bills have decided to forgo the trend and remain smart phone-less.
Bryant University student Pam Walsh told U.S. News and World Report that although commuting to school only to learn class has been canceled can be annoying—other students may have already learned the news through a professor’s email that they could read on their phones—she doesn’t feel the need to remain constantly connected to the world. “As long as I’m not waiting on a phone call or a text message from someone, I can just leave [the phone] aside,” she told reporters.
Other people are just the opposite of Walsh. The L.A. Times reports that a condition known as nomophobia, short for “no mobile phonia”—the fear of being without your phone— is on rise. A poll sponsored by online security company SecurEnvoy found that 66% of respondents claimed they fear losing or being without their cell phones. People between the ages of 18 and 24 were the most “nomophobic.”
Ball State University’s Hanley reports that he plans on studying the use of tablets such as the iPad in future research.
Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.
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