By Victoria Lavelle
Smartphones and earbuds are as trendy as the sneakers and book bags that adorn students streaming in across campus parking lots and walkways, yet today’s morning college goers are more an accessory to their mobile device than vice-versa.
Jamming out to a variety of beats from iTunes, while tapping into Snapchat or Facebook might spruce up the dreaded morning stroll to class, however, plugging into your phone for the routine walk down the halls doesn’t exactly put the bounce in your strut as one might think.
The odds of a college student being struck by oncoming traffic increases while listening to music with earbuds or chatting away on their phone hasn’t helped curb the reckless behavior by the majority of young adults.
A recent study on college students found that the mere presence of a cellular device is enough to impair a student’s sense of awareness about their surroundings, according to research published in Elsevier’s Science Direct Journal of Computers on Human Behavior.
The 2018 study also found that smartphones have the tendency to divert attention and memory, even when they are tucked away or silenced.
Moreover, distracted walking incidents are on the rise and every college student with a cellphone is at risk. An estimate 6,000 pedestrians were mowed down and killed by motor vehicles in 2018, according to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association report.
Yet, the grim reality that the number of cell phone-related pedestrian injuries has surpassed texting-while-driving ones hasn’t deterred many young adults from doing so anyway.
Research based from an online survey of 164 college students, probed 24 cell phone activities and discovered that time spent on 11 of those activities differed significantly across the sexes.
The 2018 study found that women college students spend an average of 10 hours a day on their cell phones, while men students spend nearly eight hours, according to researchers at Baylor University.
Additionally, the study reflects that roughly 60 percent of young adults admit they may be addicted to their cellphones, while others suggest that they grow anxious or frustrated when it is not within reach, according to the findings published in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions.
Let’s face it, there’s nothing more annoying than a “phone-zombie” shuffling through the college parking lot, face glued to their screen, while you sit waiting impatiently in your car to turn into a parking spot.
There comes a point when you just want to roll down your window and scream, “Get off your phone you imbecile!”
The thing is, you’ve probably been a phone-zombie yourself. Perhaps you’ll think twice after learning that phone zombies are easy prey for pickpockets and thieves, according to Campus Safety magazine.
When your mind is preoccupied with the internet or a phone conversation, there is little room to absorb what’s transpiring around you and others in the vicinity.
It’s time to face reality. As sweet as it might be that grandma now knows how to Facetime, it’s time to wake up and admit that the cell phone era is shaping more than just our conversations.
The smartphone generation is invading our culture in ways that may be unhealthy for us, mentally, and dangerous for our physical wellbeing.
Though our cell phone habits might ultimately keep us amused and connected, they aren’t worth sacrificing the hefty cost of personal safety and learning skills in college.
Next time you hear the annoying sound coming from one of those loud, vibrating cars riding through the student parking lot with the bass all beefed-up, don’t roll your eyes at the driver, because at least he’s already cut the cord.
Contact Victoria Lavelle at firstname.lastname@example.org