Surprise! Students say they're too plugged in

Jeff Morosoff, Special Asst. Professor, Hofstra University

I was taken aback by the reaction I got when my students and I discussed the coming Week Without the Web at Hofstra’s School of Communication (April 4-8).  I had assumed there would be extreme resistance to the concept and the execution.  Give up the web…for a week?  Impossible!  Or so I thought.

In fact, many students complained about how plugged-in their lifestyle has become.  Several shared with us that they turn off the cell phone at certain times during their day, even if they’re reluctant to do so.  Some welcome the times when family “rules” prohibit the use of cell phones, computers, TVs, etc. at gatherings or dinnertime.  And a few students agreed that they really don’t like being so accessible all the time, and resent when friends feel slighted if they don’t get a reply within minutes of a text message.

A handful of students said they’re actually looking forward to the Week Without the Web.  They confess they may not be able to comply completely, but they’re going to, at very least, experiment.  I’m thrilled and surprised there’s a recognition of the down side to the omnipresent technology.  Maybe there’s still hope that we humans won’t lose our need to interact face-to face after all.  Your thoughts?

18 thoughts on “Surprise! Students say they're too plugged in

  1. Alyssa

    I go back and forth on the issue of being “too plugged in.” I value the internet and how its changed the way we handle business (school, internships, etc.) but I find myself way too connected at times. One of the things that scares me alittle is how many times a day I check my email from my phone. Not to mention text messages and social networking sites. It definitely can take away personal face to face relationships. I also believe however that the internet can never replace that personal connection people make by meeting in personal or a relationship established over the phone through hearing someones actual voice. From a PR standpoint over the phone pitches can be more successful then an email pitch which can be deleted in seconds. Being able to put a face to the screenname will be a powerful tool in our generation of PR. I definitely see the value it not having email be my only form of communication with clients and reporters.

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  2. Heather Glazewski

    Being one of those students who feels they are too plugged in I was excited to try WWW, but I failed epically. I don’t know if it has anything to do with being a college student, but I notice that as I am at school I spend more time online than I do if I were home. While at school I have everything at my fingertips. At home, my phone can be missing and unless I have plans for that evening, I don’t really miss it. I love the freedom of not having to check my email all the time. I may just do one weekend a month of no web activity, it seems to make me feel better all the time.

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  3. Danielle Pasquariello

    I agree that our society has become so fixated with staying connected via social media and cell phones. Most of the time, I would rather talk to someone on the phone then go through communicating a message by sending numerous text messages or bbm messages. Yes, it is great if you need to send a quick text to somebody, but to hold a conversation via text it so frustrating. I think we will always need to have face-to-face interaction, and that people shouldn’t loose their face-to-face etiquette that is essential to thrive in society.

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  4. Chelsea Rae Simmons

    I’m not excited about this, only because my life goes on outside of school. I know I will not be able to fully participate because of job obligations. That being said, it is refreshing to simply ignore technology for a while. When I go on vacation and most times during the weekend when I’m catching up on sleep or trying to race through a good book.

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  5. Pete Guaraldi

    As mentioned in class, I studied abroad and had NO cell phone and access to the internet for five weeks. It was like a weight lifted on my shoulders. However, I couldn’t live without this access to the world without the rest of my life.

    Could I reduce the amount of use I have with social media and technology? Absolutely. However, considering what I have to do for my internship, job and school word, there’s no way possible I could participate in this week without the web because these three aspects in my life are heavily centered around technology.

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  6. Amy Romano

    I actually had a class last semester that assigned we all go a weekend without the media. This assignment gave me anxiety and I didnt complete it with success as well as the majority of my classmates. The week without the web although is different, but I am still surprised that so many students are willing to go through with it.
    I look forward to seeing the results!

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  7. Alexandra Backes

    I think the idea of a week without the Web is great! Recently, I find myself using the Web for a lot more school or work related things rather than sitting on Facebook for hours at a time. I think it is really important for us to step back and see what our lives would be if everything were not quite so accessible at all times of the day. There are times that I don’t go online for days at a time, and instead of feeling out of the loop I feel refreshed. It’s nice to sit back and relax without a screen in front of you. Week Without the Web is a way to remind students what that feels like.

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  8. Charlsie

    While I think the Week Without the Web is a super awesome and great initiative I think I am at an extremely “pivotal” time in my life. I mean that might be a bit over dramatic, but you understand what I mean. I am trying to break into an industry that requires keeping up with whats current, also as a senior, I am constantly working on networking, mainly via email so this would be a little impossible otherwise! So I wont be participating in the event.

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  9. Eileen Rodriguez

    I honestly prefer face to face interactions so I don’t consider myself as dependent on social media as others. But I already know that several of my friends and family members will think that something has happen to me when I refrain from replying to their comments and emails for a week (which is unfortunate). However I must admit that I am very dependent on the internet for news. While I will occasionally read a paper or watch the news as I get ready in the morning, I can always read up-to-date news online as I please. I’ll definitely miss that during a Week Without the Web…I just will not feel as “current” as I usually do!

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  10. Amanda Nissenbaum

    I really enjoyed this conversation that we had in class. It was amazing to hear how many of my peers are annoyed with be accessible at all times. Truth is, when the day is over, it’s not really over. It is so bad in fact, that many of us sleep with our phones next to us because we think someone is going to contact us. In return we get no sleep. At times I’ll admit, I enjoy being accessible because I’m rarely ever home, but sometimes I feel that I have no life because it revolves around work on the web and my cell phone 24/7.

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    1. jmorosoff

      We all need some down time. Sleep is the best excuse for it. So I’d suggest turning the phone off before your head hits the pillow. There’s nothing that can’t wait until morning.

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  11. Lisa Jablon

    Honestly, I have a love/hate relationship with my iPhone. I’m so “connected” that I find myself sitting at my laptop and hearing my phone beeping for an email, but instead of responding via my laptop, I’ll actually respond via my iPhone. Very strange habit I’ve formed. Which brings up my issue – habit. Has internet really become habitual? Yes, it has. And I’m actually really excited about Week Without the Web at Hofstra because I want to challenge myself to break my own set habits and maybe create new, less technologically reliant ones!

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  12. Melissa DiMercurio

    I would love to participate in Week without the Web, but I might just have my own version of it this summer when I have nothing to do and want to be disconnected from the internet world.

    Right now it’s just not possible for me to participate with everything I have going on and my need to stay in constant contact with people for school and my internship.

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  13. bltstar

    Agreed Alanna, human interaction is a necessary part of our make-up. I also agree with you Prof. Morosoff that it is nice to hear that there are some counter arguments to our much facilitated level of communication today. However, when I got the email about this “Week Without the Web,” my immediate reaction was “NO WAY!” I am admittedly dependent on the Internet in so many ways that it would be a serious disruption/catastrophe for me to go an entire week without using the Internet!

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  14. agarone

    I think that humans will always have the need to interact face-to-face with others. We are naturally social beings. Even though technology, the internet, smart phones, etc., have changed the way we interact, we will always need that personal experience. I prefer communicating with someone in person or on the phone over texting and emailing. Things can be taken the wrong way through written words; I think talking to someone in person will always be the most effective way of communicating.

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  15. Alissa C.

    I chose to be a member of the Week Without the Web committee at Hofstra because as soon as I heard about the event, I was really excited to get started and see how long I could make it without using the internet. I think this initiative is a great way to see how different our lives would be without the internet, especially since we have been plugged in every single day for years. I can’t wait for the event to start.

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    1. Kirsten

      I actually just posted on my blog about digital media in this day and age. Interestingly enough, with the potential evolution of technological singularity and a lack of human need to think, it seems evident that a “Week Without the Web” is necessary–not only for this campus but society as well. Recently, I have been thinking so much about the evolution of social media and it is truly a scary event. It is predicted that within the next 60 years, the computer will be smarter than the human brain. In addition, I think social media is disadvantageous because it is limiting our ability to maintain interpersonal relationships since we are so focused on expressing ourselves and liking things. These mediums were created to network and connect with others, but in turn, I find more and more that people just want to use it as good PR for themselves. Facebook, in my opinion, just urges people to become more obsessed with themselves.

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