twitter problem

FOMO on campus: The struggle is real

Since then, the number of mobile devices on campuses and in classrooms has increased by more than 260 percent at some colleges and universities.

“The trend of checking devices is going to get worse for a while before it gets better,” said Julie Germany, cofounder of the Association for Social Media and Higher Education, and former director of the George Washington University’s Institute for Politics, Democracy, and the Internet, said in 2011. “For many people, connecting through text, eMail, chat, and social media has become an important interruption.”

More than 70 percent of online adults now use social networking websites, a recent Pew Research survey found. Forty percent of Facebook users check the site multiple times a day, as do 46 percent of Twitter users.

Half of faculty think social media is nothing but a distraction for students, according to a survey of 8,000 faculty members conducted by Babson Survey Research Group and Pearson, though Nowinski said that isn’t always the case.

“Checking in on the social network or texting several times a day appears to be fairly normative these days and does not necessarily interfere with other activities,” he said. “That said, pretty much everyone also agrees that a lot of people are ‘tethered’ to the net and experience anxiety at the prospect of being without their smart phones.”

Or, as Emily Rhine, a freshman at Texas Christian University, tweeted, “college is a permanent struggle between FOMO and exhaustion.”

Follow Jake New on Twitter at @eCN_Jake.

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