Nine Hours: National survey finds students spend more time on devices than in class

Every morning he goes through the same routine. He wakes up, gets out of bed and showers. As soon as he walks downstairs, he immediately pulls his phone out of his pocket. He checks his Facebook, Linkedin and Instagram. He eats breakfast, and as he finishes, he checks Twitter and Tumblr. While riding on the bus to school, he puts his earphones in, turns up the volume and browses Tumblr and, on occasion, Reddit.

This may sound a bit exaggerated to some, but surprisingly this is not uncommon for the average teenager today. According to the New York Times, teenagers spend an average of nine hours a day on technology. This number includes more than using cell phones; it also includes playing video games, listening to music and watching movies in and out of class.

“Technology has made everything a little faster paced. I think it has changed our definition of time and how time works,” Ariel Croom, an AT&T sales associate said. “Everything is so fast. Before, if you wanted to learn something, you had to read a whole book to find it. Now you can just Google something really quick, and it will pop up. It changes study times, it changes work-related things — for school, writing papers and things like that. Writing a speech, you can just talk in your phone and it will write your whole speech for you, so you don’t have to sit down and write it all out.”

The majority of technology use by teenagers can be labeled as passive consumption, according to the New York Times. Passive consumption takes up about 40 percent of technology use and encompasses listening to music, watching television and reading books online or on a mobile device.

“I listen to music while doing homework because it helps me focus,” sophomore Jocelyn Berry said. “I feel like music is an important thing to be able to have because if you are stressed out or you need to take your mind off of things, you can listen to music and get refocused.”

Passive consumption is where technology is involved most in the classroom. This could mean watching a documentary, using a device to look up information, or taking notes from a PowerPoint shown in class.

“We incorporate technology every day,” Suzanne Green, multimedia and webpage design teacher, said. “We use PCs in here. We will also do things off of the SmartBoard. Students will use different devices that include phones and tablets or some even use MacBooks in class, too. ”

An almost even split is seen between interactive consumption and consumption, they both utilize about 25 percent of time spent by teenagers on technology. Interactive consumption involves playing games and browsing websites online. Consumption is characterized by social media, video chatting and texting.

“Social media is very important. A lot of people like it because you can be social with people who you would never meet otherwise,” Berry said. “You could meet someone from California if you live in North Carolina or you can get in touch with people who move away. You can see other people’s lives and what is important to them. Even though we don’t talk face-to-face as much, we know more about people by the way we use social media, specifically our pictures and our posts.”

Being online is one of the most common types of technology use today. According to the Pew Research Center, 92 percent of all teenagers report going online every day, and as many as 24 percent report being online almost constantly. Of the teenagers studied, ages 13 to 17, only 12 percent reported going online only once a day.

“Black teenagers spend more time with media than other ethnic groups,” a study from “The Big Story” found — “an average of 11 hours and 13 minutes each day. Latinos spend just over nine hours and whites eight hours, 48 minutes.”

Green feels that advancements in technology have caused people to lose skills they previously were taught. Now students grow up learning basic computer commands.

“When I first started 15 years ago, we had to teach a lot of typing skills and keyboarding skills. Those have gone away,” Green said. “Now students come in, most of the time knowing how to do most of those things already. I’ve got an almost 5 year old who has grown up using an iPad, using a phone, using a desktop computer. He can do a lot more than I would ever imagine that he would be able to do at this age. So growing up using the devices, I think students are a step ahead.”

When using technology, students tend to prefer social media over browsing websites. The most popular social media apps according to Pew Research are Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Google+. Other popular social media outlets are Vine and Tumblr.

Teenagers are often on their phones during school on these websites but in the future the school may provide Chromebooks instead of textbooks.

By Kendall Owens and Charlotte Grush

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