Thursday, January 30, 2014

How much time do you spend on social media?

In a couple of classes over the last few semesters, I have asked groups of students this question: how much time do you spend on social media each day?

The answers have ranged from none (amazingly enough) to all day.

But here's a little story I want to share with you. A few years ago, when I first asked this question, I got what seemed a mostly hostile response from the group. Their manner suggested that I had crossed a line by hinting that maybe they were spending their time unwisely. I walked out of that room resolved never to ask such an impertinent question again.

A few weeks later, as the semester end approached, I had an email from one student who had seemed particularly unreceptive to my suggestion that students were wasting their time. He wrote that until I asked that question, he had never considered the amount of time he spent each day staring at his phone. I got him to thinking about it, he said, and he realized that it was four or five hours every day. That realization made him consider that if he spent just half that time studying, he could do better. And sure enough, he said he was checking Instagram and Facebook less frequently and his grades had gone up.

So, at the risk of my being impertinent, I'll mention this: just think about it.How much time do you spend this way?

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