Students & Their Cell Phones: An Addiction Crisis?

Christopher Johnson, Staff Writer

Click, click, click, click, click.

That is the sound of American International College students on their phones texting, typing on social media, or making phone calls.  Throughout the academic year of 2013-14, AIC students, like young people all over the world, seem to be glued to their phones.

And that raises the question — why?

Whether the students are in class, walking to a spot on campus, or in the dining hall, 10 out of 10 times you will catch someone on their phone.

Students and professors tried to explain the phenomenon.

AIC freshman Kyreeh Crone shared her thoughts about the attraction.

“I look at my phone because I have people that I like to talk to throughout the day.  I’m from New Jersey, many of my friends are at different colleges, so we feel the need to talk and catch up every once and a while,” said Crone.

Students are using their phone while in class and they feel as if they are doing nothing wrong.  An incident happened the other day when a teacher confiscated a student’s phone.  The student was described being “shocked.”

A professor at American International College who did not want to be identified stated,  “It’s simply just rude.  I wake up everyday to come here and teach them so that they can make something of themselves. Most of my students are respectful enough to know that it is disrespectful, so they hold back from doing it, others simply could care less.”

Many Professors probably have the same feeling towards cell phone use in class.  Cell phone provide a huge distraction outside of the classroom as well.

Professor Mary Ellen Lowney in the Communication Department said she asks students to put down their phones when it is clear they are not paying attention in class.

“I’ve never had any trouble with that,” she said, adding that she has only had one student with what appears to be ‘cell phone addiction.’

She pointed to one 2012 study by TeleNav Inc., a mobile applications company, that found

That 22 percent of young adults would rather give up their toothbrushes for a week than their cell phones.

“People love playing online with their cell phones, or texting their friends,” Lowney noted.

AIC freshman Chris Johnson said he’s seen it too.

“I have this one friend who never pays attention to anything anyone says to him when he’s on his phone.  It feels like he is deaf, that’s how zoned out he can get.  I am constantly having to repeat myself and it can get a little frustrating,” Johnson said.

Social media is a big part of why students are becoming more attached to their phone.  Apps like Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram are the most common applications college students use today.

Twitter is so popular because people are “tweeting” how they feel, what they are doing, or whatever is on their mind in 140 characters or less.

Facebook is turning into an adult website.  Many teens are converting to Twitter and many more adults are creating Facebook accounts.

Instagram is also very popular.  Many college students and adults have Instagram accounts.  Instagram is an app where you can post pictures with a caption.  Many people follow athletes, actors, singers, friends and family to observe what is going on in their lives.

AIC freshman Devonte Dillion admitted to enjoying making connections online, and with his cell phone.

“I enjoy the social media apps because it’s a great way to find out what is going on around the world,” Dillion said.

“It’s fast information and I feel that it is excellent for communicating and connecting with friends. The times have changed, it is not like the old fashioned ways where you have to see someone to talk to them face too face,” he added.

Other social media applications include Skype and Vine.  Skype is a webcam where you can have a conversation with someone wherever they are in the world and Vine is an application where you can create six-second videos and post it for people to view and share.

Students at AIC and surely other colleges are not addicted to their phones but for sure entertained by all of these apps. The apps provide hours of entertainment that many students feed off of.  It is hard to say if and when these applications will become obsolete.