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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Study says entertainment media could be addictive

Teens and college students may be addicted to electronic media, according to a recent study.

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit research organization focused on major health care issues, conducted a study showing that children and teens today spend an average of eight hours a day using entertainment media. Entertainment media includes the use of the Internet, particularly social networking sites like Facebook, and devices such as smartphones.

Yet because of multitasking on the Internet, students are able to pack the equivalent of 11 hours of use into an eight-hour period.

Susan Moeller, a journalism professor at the University of Maryland, conducted a similar study and found that most students showed signs of withdrawal when separated from electronic media. She said students would often feel anxious, depressed and even lonely when they were not able to get online. The same symptoms persisted with isolation from mobile phones.

“The media device itself is like a friend,” Moeller said, adding that most students would be lost without their smartphones. “Smartphones are like a Swiss army tool; they are a device that does everything.”

The Kaiser study showed that 51 percent of heavy media users, those who use above the average of eight hours a day, retain good grades of A’s and B’s. The remaining 49 percent receive fair or poor grades, below B’s.

Travis Delly, a psychology freshman, said he believes the Internet is more of a tool than a hindrance in his studies. He said he spends around five to six hours on the Internet every day. Although he said he uses the Internet for entertainment purposes he said he thinks it is still a useful tool when it needs to be.

Campus Health Service has dedicated a page of its website to Internet addiction. The website says studies have shown that an increasing number of students use the Internet beyond its functionality for school. This could result in hurting interpersonal relationships, losing jobs and potentially flunking out of school, according to the website.

Yet some students, like biochemistry freshman Tanner Clinch, say they don’t see it this way. Clinch said he uses the Internet and forms of electronic media between five to six hours a day, and that he gets “decent grades” and “media helps more than anything.”

“Sometimes it (the Internet) is a hindrance. For example, I don’t want to do my homework so I’ll just StumbleUpon for hours, but sometimes I’ll use the Internet for good,” he said. “Like I’ll use it to write a research paper at home rather than going to the library for 8 hours.”

Joe Dempsey, an undeclared sophomore, said he uses the Internet for about six hours every day.

“The Internet is a wonderful resource for researching projects or any other school work if you use it in the right context,” Dempsey said.

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