By Jennifer Rodriguez
There’s an estimated 2.03 billion social media users in the world. According to Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, internet addiction could affect up to 26 percent of adolescents and college students.
With social media on the rise and smartphones in the palm of students’ hands, some professors at Youngstown State University discuss that college students can be easily distracted by constant access to the cyber world.
Keith Corso, a social media professor at Youngstown State University, said there is a difference between being addicted to social media and overly dependent on it, but both scenarios can be a problem.
“Mobile devices, such as laptops [and phones], cause issues we didn’t have years ago,” Corso said. “They can be a constant distraction.”
Joshua Monroe, a senior at YSU, said these devices at arm’s reach add to the temptation of regularly checking social media.
“Since there’s so many ways to get to it, it’s just so easy to access it,” Monroe said.
A publication in the 2016 Journal of Media Education studied 675 undergraduate students in 26 states. The study showed that 97 percent of students use their phones during class for non-educational purposes, 70 percent being social media.
Dennis Schiraldi, a communications professor, takes a modern approach at tackling the distraction that comes with social media use in class. Schiraldi said he embraces it.
“It is naive to think that learning doesn’t take place in the sense that you are going to attend a professional conference or a concert [and share it on social media],” Schiraldi said. “And in order for you to feel like you’re engaged in that event, you feel the need to connect with other people.”
These connections through social media are beneficial, Monroe said.
“It connects communication throughout the world,” Monroe said. “Businesses flourish from views and likes. Entertainment is viewed in a whole different aspect because of it.”
Instructors should encourage the use of social media sites such as Twitter and Snapchat during classes, Schiraldi said.
“If you are live tweeting my class, then I know you’re paying attention. You’re engaged,” Schiraldi said. “The modern form of note taking isn’t necessarily, you sitting writing on a piece of paper; it’s you documenting this on social media.”
Schiraldi and Corso agreed that social media should be handled in moderation. Corso said if someone feels overly dependent on social media, he or she must have the willpower to eliminate the distraction.
“If we do it enough, we can become addicted,” Corso said.
It is important to know how to balance between school work and social media, Monroe said.
“Usually I can [prioritize] between the two by importance and time to complete projects,” Monroe said. “When it is time to focus, I know not to use those sites.”
By managing your time, you can help take away from social media addiction, Corso said.