College students are tech-dependent and not so conversation-savvy
For college students, it is almost impossible to think of life without smartphones, tablets and the Internet at our fingertips. Students are always plugged into social media, from Snapchat to Facebook and everything in between.
A variety of studies show that the abundance of online outlets and web resources are creating an antisocial community among college campuses, and it is affecting our generation directly.
Millennials, or those who have reached adulthood in the early 2000s, have grown up with the newest technological advances and have become accustomed to using the endless mobile devices around them; however, college-aged members of society are not so much tech savvy, but technology dependent.
As of 2013, the percentage of teens with smartphones has far surpassed the 23 percent in 2011, a study conducted by Pew Research Center at Harvard University shows. From the same findings, almost 95 percent of teens are online; three in four teens access the Internet on cellphones, tablets and other mobile devices.
To achieve the most efficient education experience, students tend to email professors instead of visiting office hours. It gives them a way to formulate the perfect question and receive the perfect answer without the personal interaction.
In a study published by Mary Ellen Weimer, a former professor of Penn State University, more than 600 students answered a 17-item survey. Results of the survey found that 66 percent of students reported they had not attended office hours for the courses in question. Only 8 percent of students reported they had attended their professors’ office hours more than once a month.
“I think it is easier to email my professors if I don’t have the time to go to their office,” said Alex Scech, a sophomore studying biotechnology.
He also spoke about whether he prefers face-to-face communication or texting. “I think you get a better conversation with face-to-face, jokes don’t really translate well, you can’t see the other person’s emotions.”
Aside from simplifying Q&As with faculty, students also suffer from what is now known as FOMO, the fear of missing out. Another study shows that nine out of 10 students admit to using their cellphones in class, whether it be due to boredom, disinterest in the course, or the fear of being away from the Twitterverse or Facebook feed.
In her book, “Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age,” Sherry Turkle writes technology has interrupted the cycle of human interaction, known as reflect, talk and repeat. She warns, “We are being silenced by our technologies. We face a flight from conversation that is also a flight from self-reflection, empathy and mentorship.”