Students’ smartphone usage increases


    You lie in bed after a long day. A soft glow from the phone in your hand illuminates your face as you do your final social media checks of the day. Your last memory before falling asleep is the image of your home screen.

    The cheerful chime of a ringtone alarm and the brightness of the phone screen awaken you as you peel your cheek from the screen of your phone.

    You’ve just pulled an all-nighter with your phone.

    According to the National Purchase Diary (NPD) Group’s Connected Intelligence SmartMeter, Android users spent 247 minutes on their phones daily in August 2012.

    That amount of time has increased by 37 minutes since last year due to applications, according to the NPD. The group has yet to release the number of minutes iPhone users spend on their phones.

    TCU faculty and students have noticed the increase in cell phone usage on campus.

    First-year English and economics major Josh Blankenship doesn’t own a smartphone, but said he has noticed how smartphone owners are increasingly on their phones and how communication itself is changing because of smartphones.

    “Communication to some extent is different; it’s instantaneous,” Blankenship said.

    Blankenship says that because of the instant nature of smartphone communication and the presence of social media apps like Facebook, people feel the compulsion to check their phone more.

    Psychology instructor Ellen Broom has also been subject to the instantaneous expectations of her students and it has affected how she interacts with them.

    “You used to have to wait to get word from your professors, now they expect a response as soon as they email you," Broom said. "I find myself up at one in the morning answering student emails.” 

    Broom has also noticed a slight increase in cell phone use in class. She said it is rude and robs students of information in the class, and is also rude to other students trying to learn. Checking a phone repeatedly has become habit, like biting nails, she said.

    “It’s a social crutch, this generation can’t handle a lull in conversation,” Broom said.

    Broom said that psychologists have said that this usage is leading to a rewiring of the human mind.

    “But in a way, our brains need to be rewired if this technology is going to keep advancing and we’re going to spend more time with it,” Broom said.

    At this prospect, here’s to all future phone all-nighters.