Is your cell phone making you miserable? That's what it seems to be doing to students at Kent State University.
Young people are earlier adopters of technology than their elder counterparts, and when it comes to cell phones, it's been suggested that college students have led the way at making them an indispensable part of their life.
Whether in class, the library, the cafeteria or even in bed, they never seem to be without their phones. This is one reason researchers often turn to college students when investigating how cell phones are changing people's lives.
Researchers at Kent State recorded the amount of daily cell phone use of 500 students. They also measured their anxiety levels, general satisfaction with life, and obtained their grade point average (GPA).
Using a statistical method called path modeling, they found that high cell phone use was linked with a student having higher anxiety and a lower GPA. Not surprisingly, high anxiety and low grades were each linked with having lower life satisfaction.
Poor grades, high anxiety, heavy cell phone use, and low satisfaction with life all tended to occur together.
So heavy phone use, at least for these students, was also indirectly linked with having lower life satisfaction.
In other words, poor grades, high anxiety, heavy cell phone use and low satisfaction with life all tended to occur together in these students. Which one, if any, is responsible for the other(s) is not known.
But even though the results are not conclusive, they should give perennial cell phone users some second thoughts about their own phone use and will hopefully encourage them to see whether using their phones less improves their lives.
With people spending more and more time on their phones and afraid to leave them behind for even an hour, it's one thing to suggest cutting down on phone time and another to actually be able to do it. Leaving the phone behind may produce separation anxiety worse than that of a child on the first day of school. But it can be done.
If you think you need to be a little less connected to your phone, here are a few suggestions on how to get started:
The idea of machines revolting and taking over the world from their human masters has been a popular theme in science fiction since the middle of the twentieth century,. It still is. But no one ever suspected that phones would be leading the charge.
The study appears in Computers and Human Behavior.