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Student Life

Smart Phones: The Craze on College Campuses

By: Bradley Walker

 I am a student at the University of South Florida and, as I continue my career through the college ranks I am reminded daily from friends, co-workers and family about how great their smart phones are.

While they surf the web, play words with friends and take pictures with their high definition smart phone cameras, I glance down at my now obsolete mobile device and dream of a day when I can keep pace with technology. As a college student I keep my life relatively simple and, unlike half of my friends, I consider myself part of the late majority when adopting new technologies.

This raises the question: What is so smart about a smart phone anyway?

Sure it offers mobile internet access, thousands of applications and other savvy tech features, but for college students these capabilities are becoming too difficult to pass up.

Between work, class, extra curricular activities and relaxation, it’s like smart phones were made exclusively for the typical college student.

I got my Iphone about five months ago, and I am already dependent on it,” said USF architecture student Daniel Becker. “When I can send emails, play games and surf the web while sitting in class, I know that technology has spoiled me.”

Smart-phone usage among college students increased from 27 percent in February 2009 to 48 percent in July 2010, according to researcher Micheal Hanley at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind.

This increase in smart phone use on college campuses raises the question of whether they are more of a distraction than a necessity. “These phones have many educational advantages, and when used properly can be beneficial towards a student’s success in college,” said Ken Christensen, professor in the department of computer science and engineering at USF.

Smart phones can become distracting, but a phone that makes it easy for even the laziest student to multi-task is truly a phenomenon.

A report conducted by researchers at CU-Boulder’s School of Mass Communication and Journalism found that the most common places college students used their smart phones were while riding in a bus, train, or car, during idle time at work or school, waiting in line (grocery store, coffee shop checkout, etc), for school-related tasks, when they first wake up in the morning and before they go to sleep.

Think of how much time is saved in a student’s day if tasks are completed in all of these daily situations. A student’s lack of time is always an issue, but according to USF accounting student Joey Loeffler, “there is an app for that.”

“I haven’t decided if my Android has had a positive or negative impact on my life since I got it,” said Loeffler. “The price of my phone was too good to pass up, so I did some research and knew that buying a smart phone was in my best interest.”

Loeffler is part of a price insensitive demographic that accounts for a majority of smart phone users. Nielsen Company found that half of smart phone users are between the ages of 18 and 34, indicating that colleges are a booming market for new mobile technologies.

With all of this being said, we still don’t know why this trend is prevalent, or even important. To put it simply, smart phones make an already complicated life easier to live. Having the ability to manage several tasks in the palm of your hand makes users feel empowered and independent.

Younger generations (Gen. Y’s) have grown up in an age where advancements in technology was a common theme in daily life. While the baby boomers are content with their feature phones and PC’s, Generation Y lives vicariously through technology.

For a college student, this trend can’t be ignored. We are constantly on the go, and having a smart phone is more of a necessity than a luxury. As a generation that has been immersed in an era of advancements and innovation, the last thing we can do is stand idly as technology passes us by.

Smart phones have become a part of our culture, giving us the best of both worlds. Not only do they fulfill our need to stay mobile, they allow us to remain connected to the things and people that matter most in life.

About Bradley Walker

I'm a charismatic college student who yearns to share ideas, opinions and interesting stories with fellow bloggers. Blogging is an effective way of expressing genuine thoughts, ideas and interesting information that others can relate and respond to. I am entering a crucial stage in my life with vast opportunities to learn as much as I can about my future career in public relations.


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