Posted by Neha Jindal on April 25, 2010

Researchers at International Center for Media and the Public Agenda (ICMPA), University of Maryland (UM), U.S., established that internet and cell phone dependency among students is turning into an addiction.

Project director, journalism professor and ICMPA director, Susan D. Moeller, University of Maryland told the UM Newsdesk, “We were surprised by how many students admitted that they were ‘incredibly addicted’ to media.”

“Most college students are not just unwilling, but functionally unable to be without their media links to the world,” added Moeller.

200 students studied
The study called ‘24 Hours: Unplugged’ was conducted on 200 subjects aged 18 to 21 at the College Park Campus.

It included a wide range of students, of which 76 percent were Caucasian, 9 percent black, 6 percent Asian, 3 percent mixed-race, 2 percent Latino and 4 percent categorized as others.

Also, there were 56 percent female subjects and 44 percent males.

The study required the subjects to abstain from all media for 24 hours. Subsequent to this, they were asked to blog on private class websites about their experiences with regards to the test.

These included reporting their accomplishments and owning up failures, if any.

It was found that each student wrote an average of 550 words about their experiences and all subjects comprehensively wrote over 110,000 words, similar to what one could find in a 400-page novel.

It was also noted that the most frequent words used by them were media, phone, day, time, people, without, and hours.

Conversely, it was revealed that over half of the subjects (57 percent) reportedly did not own a smartphone like a BlackBerry or an iPhone, whereas 43 percent had one.

Other findings
UM Newsdesk quoted study-associate Raymond McCaffrey, Ph.D. student and former writer, editor, The Washington Post as saying, “Students expressed tremendous anxiety about being cut-off from information.”

It was found that in their blogs, subjects used terms synonymous to addiction vis-à-vis their media-dependency.

Also, it was found that for them going without media equated to going without their friends and family.

Simultaneously, results also found subjects uncommitted to any news personality or news program.

Furthermore, researchers discovered that besides using social networking websites, subjects were constantly texting and e-mailing.

Lastly, results revealed that they could live without television or newspaper but not without their iPods.




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