24 Apr 10
American college students today are addicted to media, describing their feelings when they have to abstain from using media in literally the same terms associated with drug and alcohol addictions:
most college students are not just unwilling, but functionally unable to be without their media links to the world.
The new ICMPA study, "24 Hours: Unplugged," asked 200 students at the University of Maryland's College Park campus to give up all media for 24 hours. After their 24 hours of abstinence, the students were then asked to blog on private class websites about their experiences: to report their successes and admit to any failures. The 200 students wrote more than 110,000 words: in aggregate, about the same number of words as a 400-page novel.
The student responses to the assignment showed not just that 18-21 year old college students are constantly texting and on Facebook—with calling and email distant seconds as ways of staying in touch, especially with friends—but that students' lives are wired together in such ways that opting out of that communication pattern would be tantamount to renouncing a social life.
students showed no significant loyalty to a news program, news personality or even news platform. Students have only a casual relationship to the originators of news, and in fact rarely distinguished between news and more general information.
oung adults in this study appeared to be generally oblivious to branded news and information. For most of the students reporting in the study, information of all kinds comes in an undifferentiated wave to them via social media. If a bit of information rises to a level of interest, the student will pursue it—but often by following the story via "unconventional" outlets, such as through text messages, their email accounts, Facebook and Twitter.
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