Smartphones: Friend or Foe? Smartphone Use at Bloomsburg University

Study done by: Amanda Blasco, Jayne Gac, Ben Moore, Dana Shirley

What is a smartphone? According to Dictionary.com, Smartphones are: “a device that combines a cell phone with a hand-held computer, typically offering Internet access, data storage, email capability, etc.”

In today’s society, smartphones, or these ‘hand-held computers,’ are becoming a growing epidemic. It seems as though everyone has a smartphone, and it seems as if everyone is always on his or her smartphone, especially the younger generations. Many people are constantly texting, talking on the phone, or listening to music on their phones.

Our MassComm class partnered with BUnow to study smartphone use at Bloomsburg University. Our class separated into different groups to cover as much research on smartphones as possible. My group visited different parts of campus and observed the smartphone use among students. These locations included the Husky, The Student Service Center, the Quad, and the bus stops. Our observations from these different locations seemed to be consistent.

To begin, I started at The Student Service Center. I sat there for about an hour in between my two classes with a sheet of paper that had four topics on it. The topics were: People who were texting, people who were talking on the phone, people listening to music, and people not using their smartphones. As I sat in The Student Service Center, I put tally marks under each topic that coincided with the people who were using their phones. tumblr_inline_nf9631bcqW1sodxga

I found that about 90 people were using their phones in some sort of way, and about 75 people were not using their phones at all. Nonetheless, for the people who were not using their phones, they still had their smartphones out or were carrying them in their hands. I also noticed that texting and listening to music were almost tied with the  amount of people that were using their phones, with texting being 40 people, and listening to music being 36 people. However, many people texting and listening to music were doing both at the same time. The number of people talking on their smartphone seemed to be the least popular activity for a person with a smartphone, with only 14 people talking on the phone.

Dana sat by the bus stop for an hour and tallied people as they came to and from the bus stop. Her results were similar to mine. She observed about 100 people and found that texting was the most popular action, with 67 people texting on their smartphones. Similar to my findings, the number of people talking on the phone had the lowest numbers, and listening to music was the second most common activity on a smartphone. Only 22 people were recorded talking on the phone, and 45 people were recorded listening to music.

As a group, we discovered that our results were very similar, and that texting was the most popular activity used by students on their smartphones, and talking on the phone was the least popular activity used by students. Based on our observations, we conclude that Bloomsburg University students have a strong attachment to their smartphones. Even when students were not actually using their phones, they still had their phones in their hands.

In conclusion, this article is one of several in a series on smartphone usage at Bloomsburg University. This series was conducted as a BUnow editorial partnership with Dr. Ganahl’s MassComm research students. Smartphones are steadily becoming a large part of student life, both on- and off-campus. We aim to study this integration, as well as uncover trends in the ways Bloomsburg University students use their smartphones. We hope the information we discover will be of use to the Bloomsburg population, and that this information will help us all gain insight into how we use our smartphones.

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