Study shows Internet is replacing real social interaction
Published: Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, October 4, 2011 22:10
Between Facebook, Twitter and blogs, students are plugged into social media whether they are at home, in school or anywhere else. Now, the problem may be that students are plugged in so much that they are not actually socializing.
"Face-to-face is messy; it takes time and requires a response," said Maria Roca, program leader of the Department of Communication and Philosophy. "Technology allows us to not have to deal with the feelings of the other."
The idea that face-to-face communication is being replaced is supported by the findings of the second annual World Technology Report recently released by Cisco Systems, Inc.
The report, which surveyed 1,400 college students between the ages of 18 and 23 and another 1,400 young professionals under the age of 30 from around the world, showed that more than half of this age group cited that their mobile device is "the most important technology in their lives."
The study included participants from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, India, Germany, Spain, France, China, Italy, Russia, Japan, Australia, Mexico and Brazil.
Forty percent of the college-age participants stated that the Internet is more important than dating or going out with friends.
"Technology was used when you couldn't see someone face-to-face. Now, face-to-face is being used when we can't get to someone through technology," Roca said.
The relationship between technology and the 18-to-30 age group may be even more severe than initially suspected. One out of every three students and young professionals said that they considered the Internet to be just as necessary to survival as food, water and shelter.
Elizabeth Dunhill, a junior majoring in elementary education, disagrees. She does not think the pull toward social media is all that compelling.
"Depending on the amount of homework and other things I need to get done, I would probably estimate that I spend around an hour or hour and a half a day (on Facebook)," Dunhill said.
ZDNet, a business technology news website published by CBS Interactive, recently published the results of the report in an article by Rachel King. In King's article, Joel Conover, Cisco's director of product marketing, implies that online social networking could be the new mindset of this generation.
Conover warns companies not to eliminate the possibility of having Facebook and other social media entities accessible during work hours because a company would be "essentially limiting their choices."
Charles Stanisce, a sophomore majoring in human performance, disagrees with Conover. He says that if a job was offered to him that did not allow social media access during work, it would not be a deal-breaker.
"Social media to me isn't life or death. I could always go on it at a later time. I don't live through social media," he said.
Not all of the findings of the World Technology Report have been revealed yet. The second and third parts of the Cisco survey are due out in November and December.