American College Students are Hooked on Social Media

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Susan D. Moeller, a Journalism Professor at the University of Maryland has just completed a new study called “24 Hours: Unplugged”, which asked 200 students from the College Park campus to completely avoid all sources of media for a day’s time. The next day, students were asked to write down how they felt and how not having a social media outlet felt.

Many students complained that they absolutely hated losing their connections, and some of them even said it felt like they were separated from friends and family. "Texting and IM-ing my friends gives me a constant feeling of comfort," said one of the study participants. "When I did not have those two luxuries, I felt quite alone and secluded from my life."

Researchers noted signs of withdrawal in most students, and many of them reported cravings, uneasiness and feeling of anxiety. Some also said they felt impaired functioning without normal access to their media sources. The withdrawal of electronic media devices in students gave rise to symptoms that were apparently similar to those found on the withdrawal of drugs in drug addicts.

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According Moeller, the uneasiness in most cases stemmed from the students’ inability to access their e-mail, text messages and social networking accounts.

“I clearly am addicted and the dependency is sickening,” said one student. “Between having a Blackberry, a laptop, a television, and an iPod, people have become unable to shed their media skin.”

One cannot deny the importance of electronic-media in our everyday lives; however, the time being spent on these is becoming a serious cause for concern, and experts have advised caution.

The study is not the first of its type and more studies are slated for addictions to these types of electronic media.

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