It’s fun to be young. You can go on dates! hang out with friends! listen to music! Or… go on Twitter?
In a creepy new study released by Cisco Systems, 40 percent of college students claimed to consider the Internet more important than all the above activities. After all, the internet doesn’t talk back, or flirt with your ex-boyfriend. It offers seemingly infinite cute kitten videos. And g-chatting someone is a lot more low-stakes than actually having a face-to-face conversation. Why leave your room at all, really?
If you’ve spent any time with college-age kids recently, they probably spent at least 20 percent of the time obsessively checking their phones. At what point does this become internet addiction? And what about the whole interpersonal connection thing — are we witnessing the beginning of its slow decline? When looking at studies like this, it’s easy to catastrophize. After all, the internet can be used for good — for maintaining friendships from afar, for re-connecting with the past, for checking in with your mom by sending her funny cat videos. But when (as in this study) 33 percent of college students put internet access in the same category as food, air, and water… well, then it might be time to worry.
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