Nearly half of college students prefer Internet to friends, dating (study)

Nearly half of college students prefer Internet to friends, dating (study)

Summary: Being connected to the Internet is becoming more important than friends and even dating for a staggering percentage of college students and young professionals, according to a new report from Cisco.

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TOPICS: Cisco
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Social life is becoming less about personal interaction and more about being connected to the Internet. That and more rather shocking items about how the Internet is impacting the social lives of young people is revealed in the second annual Cisco Connected World Technology Report.

For reference, this study is based on the responses of 1,400 college students between the ages of 18 and 23 and another 1,400 young professionals under 30 years old. It was conducted and translated into the local languages in the following 14 countries: the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Russia, Japan, China, India, Australia, Mexico, Brazil and Canada.

Here's a snapshot of some of the more surprising results:

  • Two-thirds of students (66 percent) and more than half of young employees (58 percent) answered with a mobile device (i.e. laptop, smartphone, tablet) as "the most important technology in their lives."
  • 19 percent of college students listed smartphones as their "most important" device used on a daily basis, compared to 20 percent for desktops
  • About nine of 10 (91 percent) college students and young professionals (88 percent) globally have Facebook accounts. One-third (33 percent) of them check their Facebook accounts at least five times per day.
  • One of five students (21 percent) have not bought a physical book (excluding textbooks required for class) in a bookstore in more than two years – or ever.
  • If forced to choose between one or the other, about two of three students (64 percent) would pick the Internet over having a car (36 percent).

And these could be considered disturbing statistics about the way younger folks socialize these days:

  • One in three college students and young professionals consider the Internet to be as important to survival as air, water, food and shelter
  • 55 percent of college students and 62 percent of young employees say they could "not live" without the Internet
  • In a given hour, more than four out of five (84 percent) college students are interrupted at least once by digital media (i.e. instant messaging, social media updates and phone calls).
  • Two of five college students surveyed globally (40 percent) affirmed the Internet is more important to them than dating, going out with friends, or listening to music.
  • More than one in four college students globally (27 percent) admitted staying updated on Facebook was more important than partying, dating, listening to music, or hanging out with friends.

There's something very wrong (in a sad way) about those last two findings.

Much of the research here is focuses on the consumer side of the Internet, but Cisco analysts argue that these trends will have an impact on the business social software space as well.

"This generation looked at the Internet access differently than how most businesses treat the Internet," said Joel Conover, Cisco’s director of product marketing.

Although one motive for this report is to generate conversation, Conover added that it can also give a little bit of insight into the minds of this generation to CIOs as well as HR professionals.

He explained that organizations that have more open policies (i.e. as to what social networks they can access from work) are able to attract more talent in the coming years. If work policies prohibit things like Facebook, Conover warned, those companies are "essentially limiting their choices."

Yes, although the study reveals that online media does present interruptions to productivity from time-to-time, the world's next generation of workers will still demand access to these mediums -- even if they are limited.

The second and third installments of the Cisco Connected World Technology Report will be published in November and December. Those chapters will cover the growing use of the Internet and mobile devices in the workplace, and how the next generation’s attitudes toward more open access to information and social media present a greater security risk to their companies.

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Topic: Cisco

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28 comments
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  • Nerd nation!

    This is pathetic if true.
    wkulecz
    • No, they're not that nerdy...

      @wkulecz <br><br>Back in the days, nerds were the only ones that would use technology items like that. Nowadays, using them is the "norm"... whereas overclocking, hacking, & general customization of hardware & software remains with us nerds.<br><br>This, to me, kind of reminds me of the old stereotype about teenagers that, when landline phones were first becoming mainstream, teenagers would spend hours talking on the phone "instead of engaging in *meaningful* face-to-face interaction".

      Edit: not sure what happened to my subject line...
      spdragoo@...
      • RE: Nearly half of college students prefer Internet to friends, dating (study)

        @spdragoo@... When hot chicks start overclocking computers and modding software... I fear we'll become redundant
        Imrhien
  • RE: Nearly half of college students prefer Internet to friends, dating (study)

    Who needs to be physically present to interact with friends? If people are spending more time on a Ventrilo server playing video games with their friends than going out and getting drunk with them, more power to them.

    I also don't see why music should be included in those last statistics. If anything, that skews things pretty badly, as most people I know couldn't give a damn about music.

    As for people saying they could "not live" without the internet...the same can be true of almost every modern technology. I also couldn't live without air conditioning, a car, a refrigerator, a television, washing machine, dish washer, indoor plumbing, electricity, etc etc etc. The Amish seem to do fine without those things, but could you? The Internet has more or less become a utility at this point.
    Aerowind
  • What ever happened to going out to a Bar to meet friends?

    nt
    Dietrich T. Schmitz *Your
    • Catch you up real quick, baby boomer

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz * Your Linux Advocate .. The SIMS ... think: virtual bars .. virtual pickup lines ... virtual graffiti in bar-room restrooms ... virtual hangovers ... well, virtually anything, really.<br><br><i>" ... It's life Jim, but not as we know it. "</i>
      thx-1138_
      • RE: Nearly half of college students prefer Internet to friends, dating (study)

        @thx-1138_@...

        If they're satisfied with virtual sex, our taxes are bound to go up. There'll be even few people contributing to entitlements: Social Security, Medicare, Food Stamps, etc. Saints preserve us!
        brambeus
    • RE: Nearly half of college students prefer Internet to friends, dating (study)

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz * Your Linux Advocate Probably because I don't want to be friends with anybody that would go to a bar. That's probably the worst way to create meaningful relationships.
      Aerowind
      • RE: Nearly half of college students prefer Internet to friends, dating (study)

        @Aerowind I blame the rap music
        Imrhien
    • re: meeting friends at the bar

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz * Your Linux Advocate: Although I've agreed to meet up with some of my friends at the bar, I never met any NEW friends at a bar. IMHO, the "bar scene" has always been over-rated, and probably led to quite a few divorces after people who "met in a bar" got married, not fully considering the consequences of marrying a person who liked drinking/getting drunk enough to frequent establishments that cater to it.

      This change may seem disturbing or wrong to people who didn't grow up in the middle of it, but I suspect there's REALLY not much different at all between Internet socializing and physical socializing in a bar. The Internet version will save people some money and allow getting to know someone by their personality and writing ability, vs. making snap judgments about their physical looks. But either way, aren't people having similar conversations, playing games for entertainment and so on?
      kingtj
      • RE: Nearly half of college students prefer Internet to friends, dating (study)

        @kingtj "...but I suspect there's REALLY not much different at all between Internet socializing and physical socializing in a bar."
        Wrong. There's peanuts.
        jgm@...
    • RE: Nearly half of college students prefer Internet to friends, dating (study)

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz * Your Linux Advocate
      By "bar", you really mean "Linux User Group meeting", right?
      jgm@...
  • RE: Nearly half of college students prefer Internet to friends, dating (study)

    We live in a sad world.
    Bates_
  • RE: Nearly half of college students prefer Internet to friends, dating (study)

    I find it much easier to talk to girls on the internet than in real life.
    LoverockDavidson_-24231404894599612871915491754222
    • RE: Nearly half of college students prefer Internet to friends, dating (study)

      @LoverockDavidson_ Yeah, if they turn you down, you can block them.
      "That'll show CuTeGuRL413! HA!"
      Seems people are afraid to use their cajones these days!
      jmwells21
      • RE: Nearly half of college students prefer Internet to friends, dating (study)

        @jmwells21 What world are you living in? Who goes to chat rooms to find people anymore?<br><br>Why do you think those dating sites are doing so well?
        Aerowind
    • So when online ...

      @LoverockDavidson_ [i]" ... I find it much easier to talk to girls on the internet than in real life. "[/i]

      .. you mean, when you're online, you talk to cybernetic life-forms? Avatars maybe? ... or are you referring to your preference for [i]Kathy Sierra[/i] type "encounters" or interactions?

      .. h3ck, i'm going to go out on a limb and guess you have a thing for all of the above.
      thx-1138_
  • RE: Nearly half of college students prefer Internet to friends, dating (study)

    I remember a show, perhaps back in the 70's - 80's with Roy Scheider, where they somehow went forward in time and found 2 people talking via computers. They couldn't believe that they had never met and were unable to talk in person to anyone. Seems that maybe with a generation or two we might just have accomplished what was fantasy.
    herb643
    • RE: Nearly half of college students prefer Internet to friends, dating (study)

      @ramien43@... Is that so bad? Most of my "personal" relationships aside from my family are superficial. I've connected emotionally with more people over the internet than I have in "real" life. Hell, I tell you guys here way more than I would anyone else in my "real" life.

      The internet makes you honest, because there isn't a social contract, and as such, you can bond with people more meaningfully. Or well, hate people more hatefully. It swings both ways. I have more animosity towards half of you commenters than I do towards anyone I've met in person for the same reason that my best friend lives in Santa Cruz and I've never met him in person.
      Aerowind
      • That may be tied more into your own personal wiring, though.

        @Aerowind

        I can honestly say that, despite the interaction I've had with hundreds of people over the Internet, the depth of emotional connection has *never* reached that of people that I've met & interacted with in person.

        As for honesty? I'm sorry, we're talking about the Internet here, a place where you can access proxy servers that let you surf "anonymously" -- at least in the sense that your ISP can only track you to the anonymous server in question. You can set up an email address that doesn't even link to your real name, not to mention maintain separate profiles on the same online forum.

        But again, that's also my *personal* experience with the Internet. Yours apparently differs from mine, just as your experience watching a particular movie or TV show will probably differ from mine.
        spdragoo@...