For better or worst, social media has become a prominent aspect of college students’ lives.
Whether for education or socializing purposes, seldom do college students find themselves not using some form of social media in their day-to-day activities.
According to the Wakefield Survey published by the Huffington Post, “99 percent of students reported having at least one digital device. While laptops were the most common (93 percent), many students now own smartphones (78 percent) and tablets (35 percent). “
Whether it’s the social aspect or the fact that it’s easily accessible, smartphones seem to take on the role as the most used technology device among students.
This could be because social media apps, such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat, allow students to stay up to date with friends and acquaintances.
In regards to social media, student Rebekah Deponte said, “I have a hard time keeping in touch with people, especially in college, so it’s helpful in that aspect.”
Social media’s ability to give live video and picture updates of friends and family, especially those that live far away, is a luxury that many enjoy.
Professor Johanna Smith not only enjoys the fact that social media has allowed her to reconnect with a high school friend, but she also enjoys that it positively benefits her stepson.
“My stepson is constantly using social media to talk to his friends, they rarely meet face to face, but I love that they can always be talking through social media,” said Smith.
For some college students, the ability of constant updates gives a desire to check social media periodically.
According to the Wakefield Survey, “47 percent claimed to check their devices every 10 minutes (up from 38 percent of students in 2011).”
Professor Smith has witnessed this aspect of social media among her students as well.
“I was teaching an improv class and had someone check their phone on stage. At first I couldn’t believe it, but then I realized they feel an actual need to do it,” said Smith.
The constant checking of phones may leave some feeling the need to have their phones near them at all times, even when they sleep.
Research done by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation on Millennials reported, “80% sleep with their cell phone next to the bed.”
The desire to be on their phones and stay up to date with social media can be distracting for college students, especially when they have other things to focus on, such as school assignments and work.
In response to this negative aspect of social media, Deponte said, “When I find myself just on there to kill time, that’s when its not effective. I feel like I’m killing brain cells.”
Other negative components have emerged about social media over time, including its use to bully others and the lack of privacy that can surround it.
Despite various beliefs regarding social media, there is no denying that it is a major force driving the lives of many, particularly college students.