No Media, No Tech — What Happens?

This is an intriguing study of 200 college students at the University of Maryland who spent a media/technology-free 24 Hours and then took part in a study of their reactions and impressions of the experiment.

Among the findings (which are expanded at the website):

  • Students use literal terms of addiction to characterize their dependence on media.
  • Students hate going without media.  In their world, going without media, means going without their friends and family.
  • Students show no significant loyalty to a news program, news personality or even news platform.  Students have only a casual relationship to the originators of news, and in fact don’t make fine distinctions between news and more personal information. They get news in a disaggregated way, often via friends.
  • 18-21 year old college students are constantly texting and on Facebook—with calling and email distant seconds as ways of staying in touch, especially with friends.
  • Students could live without their TVs and the newspaper, but they can’t survive without their iPods.

Among the conclusions of the report:

The major conclusion of this study is that the portability of all that media stuff has changed students’ relationship not just to news and information, but to family and friends — it has, in other words, caused them to make different and distinctive social, and arguably moral, decisions.

The absence of information – the feeling of not being connected to the world – was among the things that caused the most anxiety in students as they sought to learn about the role of media in their lives – ironically by completing an assignment that asked them to spend a day without using media.

Check out this grid of notes from their class discussions about how they use different technology and media. The column around print, while a small response, is indicative of the slow demise of newspapers and magazines in the world.

Peace (in the world),

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *