A recent study found that college students spend around 8 to 10 hours per day on their cell phone. While most of this time is used texting and checking social media, there’s no denying the significance that the connectivity of mobile devices has on students. With so much interaction taking place online, young people’s experience in the world is heavily impacted by what occurs in the palm of their hand. Many entrepreneurial students have even been able to successfully monetize social media accounts, thus creating entire digital industries. As the internet grows even more popular among students, they will find creative and personal ways for it to supplement their reality.
The Internet’s Relationship with Living in Reality
If you log into an Instagram account and scroll through most college students’ personal pages, you’re likely to see them posing for pictures in front of interesting places, or in the midst of doing an interesting activity. College students, more than anyone else have been able to curate their social media profiles to reflect an image of what they want their lives to look like – even when it doesn’t reflect reality. The pressure to look “cool” on social media can have negative side effects on a student’s mental health – including depression and anxiety. And with the ever present nature of cell phones, escaping this digital nightmare is easier said than done.
In order to combat the mental health problems that social media can present, it’s important to teach the importance of responsible internet usage. There are a number of different methods that students can use their social media profiles to highlight the great aspects of their life, without succumbing to the desire to make their lives seem perfect. Responsible social media use is the building block to utilizing the technology to get the most out of its’ potential. Not to mention the benefits that students will gain when they learn to put the phone down, disconnect, and simply enjoy the moment from time to time.
The Changing Dating Game
College isn’t just a time for students to explore their learning capabilities and find out how much beer they can drink – but it’s also a time when they may be most sexually active. Of course, the internet has already made an impact on how students hook up with the advent of apps like Tinder and Bumble. The concept of these apps is that users create a profile, and can either “like” or “dislike” the profiles of other singles in their area.
While on the surface this may seem like a quick way for students to find a hookup, a recent study found that 91% of college dating app users utilized the technology for more than a one night stand. The reasons for using these apps ranged from finding love, to simple entertainment purposes. This goes to show how college students are using technology as a tool to serve their own personal preferences. Perhaps what makes these apps so popular is that their concept is so generalized and simple to use, that they can be utilized for a number of different purposes.
Financial Responsibility Starts Online
One of the most beneficial aspects of the digital revolution among college students is that it’s spurred the advent of a number of money management and investing apps geared towards students. Being a student usually means that money is tight. In the past, students had to learn responsible money management the hard way – by falling flat on their financial faces. Today, students have digital aides to help them both budget their money, and find smart investments to make with their spare change. Having a digital reminder to handle their college finances is a feature that students will come to cherish. And apps are able to help students prioritize their spending on the important things before they go off and buy beer and pizza.
On a deeper level, some financial apps can help teach students the importance of investing. Having the ability to make smart, yet simple investments with extra change they have from debit card purchases can help foster a mindset in college students to prioritize saving money. And these small investments can go a long way for students who already struggle balancing their income and getting good grades, as they don’t have to spend as much time deciding what to invest in.
Being a college student today often means living two completely separate lives at the same time – there’s the one where they’re living in reality, and then there’s their digital lives – which include social media profiles, dating apps, financial advice, emails, and more. And while this dependence on technology may cause them to struggle with some of the necessities of modern life, they will be well prepared for the digital world of the future. It’s important to understand how mobile apps affect different aspects of a student’s life, and decipher which components of the technology are healthy, and which are not. Conveying these realizations to college students is of the utmost importance in order for them to learn how to use the internet in a responsible manner, and pass that knowledge on to future generations to come.