By Juan De La Cruz Logos Lite Student
The days where college students sat together around the cafeteria tables or in their dorm rooms conversing without any type of electronic device present is a thing of the past. The rapid growth of social media on college campuses over the recent years has changed the dynamics of the college student experience.
In most academic institutions’ cafeteria, dorm or local hangout place students can be found with their head down, thumbs swiping up and down or fingers tapping their phone screen checking the latest post on Instagram, Snapchatting their friends or seeing what’s trending on Twitter. This increased presence of social media has made a profound impact on college students, both positive and negative.
The main social media platforms that college students utilize are Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Yik Yak. According to a 2015 Pew Research Center study, it was found that 90 percent of young adults use these social media sites. In the same study, it was found that there was a 78 percent increase in young adult social media usage from 2005. Business Insider reported in 2015, that less than two years after launching Yik Yak, the application was being used across 1,600 college campuses. Today, the application has millions of monthly active users.
An article published by Fortune in January 2016 reported that Snapchat users view more than 7 billion videos through the photo and video sharing app daily. eMarketer says 18 to 24 year olds, the ages corresponding to the majority of college students, accounted for about 45% of Snapchat customers.
The preceding data demonstrates the heavy usage of social media amongst college students, as well as young adults. Social media brings a variety of positive impacts to the life of a college student.
First of all, it allows students to communicate and interact with each other. They can make plans, discuss homework, send class notes, etc. through the social media’s messaging section.
Second, platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook allow students to voice their opinion on anything that is going around the world. Students have their own accounts and can do what they want with it. They can post their views whenever and however they want to.
Third, students can stay up to date with current news and events that are occurring around the world. Specifically on Twitter, there is a “Moments” section that includes subunits titled “US News,” “World News” and “Today.” Lastly, others can go to these platforms for motivational purposes.
“Using social media helps me connect with my classmates, especially for group work. After college, it can also benefit me by staying in touch with my former classmates,” said Matt White, NIACC freshman, on how social media impacts his life in a positive way.
On the other hand, the excessive usage of social media by college students causes the students to lose focus during class time, procrastinate, open their lives up to the public and pressures them to do things just to impress their peers. The use of a cellphone for social media activities during class lectures, presentations or assignments results in students being sidetracked and losing focus in the task at hand. The lack of focus in the classroom has an effect on the student’s performance as they may miss assignment details such as in what to include, when it’s due, etc., perform poorly on quizzes and tests, and fail to fully comprehend the learning material.
Social media is a world of its own; the countless amount of pictures and tweets can distract students and lose track of time and deadlines. Students tend to procrastinate when they find themselves stressed out from school work, tests, quizzes or assignments. Another situation where students procrastinate are in between study breaks, where a ten minute break to check Facebook turns into a wasted hour of social media.
Regarding the negative impacts of social media on students, Jeff Platt, NIACC psychology instructor, said, “Social media can interfere with learning if students believe multitasking is possible. Research suggests that people actually are just switching between tasks rather than do several things at the time. Thus, learning is more effective when we just focus on the task of learning and avoid the temptation of distractions.”
Finally, every picture, post, tweet and snap that is published online becomes public and can be viewed by everyone. This can harm a student’s reputation as individuals who personally do not know the student can make judgements based on the image they portray over social media. Future employers also have access to these posts which can influence their decision on who to hire and not hire.
The escalation of social media on academic institutions has dramatically transformed the college atmosphere around campuses all over the nation. This has brought up a lot of positives and negatives in the lives of students, but it’s a new generation where technology is slowly replacing the human experience.