How social media makes us anti-social

The effects of the technological age are evident across Baylor’s campus. Many people’s eyes are glued to their phones while walking to class, and lecture halls are littered with laptop screens displaying social media pages. People’s online personas have become important parts of their lives, and it is time for an evaluation of the outcomes of social media use.

Psychologists have now coined the term “social media addiction,” and you may have it if you constantly check your phone, if you feel the world is ending due to a lack of access to social media sites and if you start to falsify personal information to seem more interesting to followers. For most users, excessive time spent on social media may be a bad habit that needs to be adjusted, but for some the addiction is real.

Technology is an incredible means of receiving communication and information; it keeps the world connected and allows constant educational opportunities. However, students should become aware of the dangerously mindless lifestyle they’re falling into with the constant scrolling, posting and typing.

Research from the Association for Psychological Science on computer use in class shows that students have lower rates of information retention when notes in class are typed as opposed to handwritten. The type of notes taken on a laptop are typically word-for-word, whereas written notes force students to deliberately understand key concepts, as writing takes longer. Though pen and paper seem to be inconvenient alternatives to a keyboard, the pair could improve a test grade or help further a student’s understanding.

Computers also present a constant distraction throughout class and during study time. Students can surf the internet, scroll through Facebook and have an outlet to completely ignore the information being presented to them. Students must remember class time is a rare opportunity to learn from a practiced expert, and studying is the act of reviewing and retaining important information.

A study done by Ohio State University’s education department shows a correlation between Facebook use and lower grades. The findings show time spent on the social media platform interferes with studying and class due to the emphasis placed on constant online socializing. Also, the lack of time management skills in young adults allows the seeming importance of Facebook to outweigh studying.

Procrastination is also a result of excessive social media usage. Many students put off assignments until the last moment and then allow social media to become a distraction during the work process. Interrupting the flow of concentration may produce lower-quality work than students are capable of. Procrastination inhibits students from reaching academic goals and should be avoided, along with excessive phone use during studying.

Students stagger their academics with reading statuses, watching videos and liking pictures. These activities are low in value but have been given precedence over important moments and opportunities. Waking up in the morning now requires a run through Instagram, boredom results in pointless Facebook scrolling, and it seems every thing that happens must be recorded. Technological development is meant to be useful, and college students are letting cell phones and computers dull the moments they are experiencing.

This is an encouragement for students to evaluate the time they spend online and what they devote their attention to during class. The value of education is an extension of the time and importance placed on class time and the intensity given to studying. Advancements in technology are opportunities to learn, communicate and be challenged; it is imperative to use these resources for only shallow activities.

Allow technology to add value to your academics and be aware of the negatives social media can present when used too often or in place of beneficial experiences. Adding boundaries will open you up to living in the moment, and your grades may benefit too.