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Study: Female College Students Spend Up To 10 Hours Per Day Using Their Phones

August 30, 2014
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Chuck Bednar for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online

Roughly 60 percent of college students admit that they could be addicted to using their cell phones, researchers from Baylor University claim in a new study published online Tuesday in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions.

Dr. James Roberts, the Ben H. Williams Professor of Marketing in Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business, and colleagues from Universitat Internacional de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain and Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio also reported that female college students spent an average of 10 hours per day using their mobile devices.

In comparison, male college students spent nearly eight hours per day using their cell phones. Roberts calls those figures “astounding,” and he and co-authors Luc Honore Petnji Yaya and the late Dr. Chris Manolis explain that the type of excessive use exhibited by both men and women poses a potential threat to their academic performance.

“As cellphone functions increase, addictions to this seemingly indispensable piece of technology become an increasingly realistic possibility,” Dr. Roberts said in a statement Wednesday, noting that some of the men and women his team interviewed even confessed that they felt agitated when the device was out of sight.

As part of their research, the study authors conducted an online survey of 164 college students, focusing on 24 different cellphone activities. They found that the amount of time spent on 11 of those activities varied significantly by gender. Some of those functions (including Pinterest and Instagram) are clearly associated with cell phone addiction, while others (Internet use, playing video games) are not typically associated with addiction, they said.

The survey found that responders reported spending the greatest amount of time sending and receiving text messages (an average of 94.6 minutes a day) and using email applications (48.5 minutes). Checking Facebook was third (38.6 minutes), followed by surfing the Internet (34.4 minutes) and listening to MP3 players (26.9 minutes).

While men send approximately the same number of emails as women, they spend less time on each, leading Dr. Roberts to state that this suggest that men send “shorter, more utilitarian messages than their female counterparts.” Overall, women were found to spend more time on their cell phones, and more likely to use them for social reasons such as texting or sending emails, while men tended to use them utilitarian or entertainment purposes.

However, Dr. Roberts noted that male college students “are not immune to the allure of social media,” and also spent time visiting social media websites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Among the reasons guys used Twitter were to follow athletes, catch up on the latest news, or “waste time,” as one male student told the study author.

Excessive cell phone use poses several possible risks for college students, the authors explained. The devices could wind up being a distraction in the classroom, or even a way to cheat on exams. Furthermore, excessive cell phone use could also cause conflict with family members, professors or employers, and some individuals could even pretend that they are taking a call or sending a text to avoid having to deal with a difficult situation, they added.

Dr. Roberts said that this latest survey is more extensive than previous studies when it comes to examining the number and types of cell phone activities, and is also the first study to examine which specific activities are significantly associated with addictions to mobile devices and which ones are not.

He added that it was important to pinpoint which activities that transform these devices “from being a helpful tool to one that undermines our well-being and that of others.” Those activities examined by the study included calling, texting, emailing, Web surfing, banking, taking pictures, playing games, reading books, using a calendar or a clock, and using various apps, including Google Maps, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and iTunes.

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Source: Chuck Bednar for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online



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