Media Addiction: Are You Hooked?

by Ryan on April 25, 2010

in Anything Else,Culture,Media,Pop Culture,science

The University of Maryland recently completed a study called “24 Hours: Unplugged,” where they asked 200 students to go 24 hours without any kind of media whatsoever — no cellphones, no Blackberries, no texting, no IM-ing, no Internet in general, and no TV (as best as could be avoided).  Nothing.  So, in essence, these kids were asked to live life as I did in high school back in the early 1990s (with the TV exception, of course).  Scary, huh?

Apparently the kids are hooked, showing physical, mental and emotional kinds of withdrawal.  After a mere 24 hours some reported feeling alienated from their friends and behind the times on the news and other current events, including their favorite TV shows.

As one who’s taught Millennials my whole career I can say unequivocally that they are the whiniest bunch of kids on Earth.  My older colleagues are in complete agreement with me on this one.  They are very needy and our society has raised them to have terrible coping skills.  So, I’m not shocked that they would feel so disconnected after a mere 24 hours.  Like a few others, I’m not sure I want jump on the “addiction” train yet.  It seems to me that this kind of behavior is just Millennials acting like Millennials — whiny and spoiled, possibly looking for attention or another ailment to blame on others.

However, when a study like this comes out everyone kind of feels uncomfortable — could you disconnect from the media world for a mere 24 hours?  I grew up in an era where only doctors and drug dealers had pagers, but I really like modern technology.  Personally, once in a while over the summer I’ll leave technology behind, to the point where I can turn on the TV and feel an energy burst from the box I never usually sense when I’m a couch potato!  It’s actually liberating to be oneself for a while and I think people should try it from time to time.  But, then again, I’m not addicted.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Marilyn April 25, 2010 at 11:04 pm

People should try it for longer than 24 hours.

My husband and I home schooled our four children. There were times we felt everyone was too dependent on media, or times we felt it was having a negative impact on the peace of our home. At those times we imposed week-long blackouts. The first day was hardest…lots of whining, lots of aimless wandering as kids tried to figure out what to do with themselves. By the end of the week, they were reading, playing well with each other, and exploring the hills in which we lived. And they were so much happier.

I agree that this younger generation is spoiled and selfish. When my kids came to me saying “I’m bored” I figured they were asking me to entertain them, and that is laziness. I gave them chores. It didn’t take long for them to learn to occupy themselves!

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